Board of Education offers conversational Spanish class to teachers
An educator in the Gilmer County School System reached out to Assistant Superintendent Stuart Sheriff, suggesting the system offer educators a conversational Spanish class to help teachers better communicate with students.
Sheriff thought the conversational Spanish classes were a great idea because there has been a continued increase in Hispanic population in Gilmer County schools.
In fact, at Ellijay Elementary, over 45 percent of students are Hispanic, so there is a growing need to be able to communicate with students and their families.
Sheriff said that when he notified the teachers about the prospect of conversational Spanish classes becoming available to educators, over 100 educators were interested. “We love that our educators are excited to bridge the gap between the languages.”
Over 50 educators signed up for the conversational Spanish classes once the dates were finalized. The classes will take place every Tuesday from 4-5 p.m. for 12 weeks and will consist of 25 people each. One will take place at Mountain View Elementary and one at Ellijay Elementary.
A conversational Spanish class is different from a regular class because it focuses more on everyday needs, such as a teacher conversing with a Spanish-speaking student and their families. Teachers who take this class could be able to address his or her whole class in both English and Spanish.
“Communication with both our students and their families is critical to meeting the needs of the children we serve,” said school superintendent Dr. Shana Downs. “Since 30 percent of our student population speaks Spanish at home, I am so pleased we are able to offer educational Spanish classes to our staff to further open the doors of communication.”
Another educator stated “Students and their families may come to us knowing very little to no English. If we as educators meet them where they are and are able to communicate with them in their language, we will be able to serve them better by meeting the student’s educational needs, and increasing family support and involvement.”