SOUTHWEST CITY, Mo. — An area teacher is given one of her district’s highest honors for helping students play catch up with some of their classmates.

Succeeding in school can be hard enough, even when you speak English.

“Happy Cinco De Mayo ladies,” said Audrey Cloud, McDonald County Teacher of the Year.

Helping students that don’t to pick up that language as quickly as possible is what Audrey Cloud does for a living at Southwest City Elementary.

“Worthy of notice or attention, very good, very good,” said Cloud.

And according to Denisa Douthit, the principal at the school, Cloud does it exceptionally well, which is why she is the McDonald County Teacher of the Year.

Southwest City Elementary teacher, Audrey Cloud, leads an English lesson with students

“Mrs. Cloud is such an important piece to Southwest City and to McDonald County as a whole. She serves as a mentor to new teachers, she serves as a mentor to other ELL teachers in the district. We’re just lucky to have her as part of our team. She’s an important part of our PTO so she works closely with the parents and community members and the school staff,” Douthit said.

“A lot of times we do pull those students out of the classrooms and give them intense training on English language,” Cloud said.

She’s an ELL, or English Language Learner, instructor at Southwest City Elementary.

So how important is the role she plays? Well, in some schools in the McDonald County School system, students speak as many as ten different languages.

“They are bringing a lot of culture to our schools and we are thrilled to have them and I specialize in helping them catch up to their English speaking peers,” added Cloud.

And the quicker her students pick up English, the sooner they too can excel in the classroom and beyond.