-April 15th, 2017
Alexandra is a seventh grade student at Carbondale Middle School in Carbondale, CO. She began kindergarten as an emerging bilingual at Crystal River Elementary. Alexandra lives with her parents, Simon and Bricelda, her older sister Lizzeth (17) and younger sister Natalia (10 mos). Alexandra’s family speaks Spanish and English. Alexandra and her sister Lizzeth have recently been studying Korean and would like to travel to South Korea someday.
Alexandra excels as a student and as a leader. She likes all of her classes because, she says, “It’s all an opportunity to learn and get and give knowledge and everyone will be united. Many don’t have the opportunity to go to school.” Alexandra feels lucky that she has the opportunity to learn. Alexandra plays basketball for CMS, plays the trumpet, is part of the Pre-Collegiate program, Outdoor Leadership, and was selected to be a WEB Leader (CMS’s youth leadership team). She is passionate about dancing, loves to sing, and really likes visual arts and mocha lattes.
Alexandra highly values her bilingualism: “I think being bilingual is an opportunity for your future life. There are many things you can do with it. It’s important because I can help my parents. I can help them learn English. In the future, I can talk to people who people who speak a different language. We can understand each other and learn new things. If you learn new things, you can become even better than you were before.” She actively seeks opportunities to strengthen her bilingualism. For example, she joined a bilingual book club, practices reading in Spanish with her parents, and seeks out bilingual friends. She says, “I like reading. It helps with your knowledge of things. If it’s a book that’s really interesting, it will stay in your head and you will teach other people new things. Reading bilingually is hard for me because sometimes I read in Spanish I read slower than in English but it’s good to keep reading in Spanish. My mom helps me with the Spanish words I don’t know.”
Before beginning school, Alexandra spoke only Spanish. “My sister and I wouldn’t communicate much because she only wanted to speak English. When I started Kindergarten I was scared because I didn’t understand anything in English. I had a teacher who taught us English by using Spanish and that helped a lot. Other kids didn’t understand as much because they were only learning in English. My parents wanted me to keep speaking Spanish because they didn’t want me to loose my Spanish. I don’t think it’s OK to let Spanish go. I think it’s really important for you to have it and communicate with your own family and speak the language you originated from and speak English at the same time. If you have parents who speak Spanish it’s easier to maintain your Spanish. If you don’t have parents that speak Spanish, you could maintain it by using bilingual flashcards. You can have the opportunity to be bilingual. You can also have friends that speak both languages. I try to help my parents talk in English. They ask us how to say things at home.”
Alexandra dreams of becoming a dancer: “I want to be able to dance in front of people and make a change. I want people to feel like no matter what they want to do, they can do it!” She is also attracted to the idea of becoming a doctor or surgeon. She sees her bilingualism as an important part of any career she chooses.
“People will speak to you in Spanish and you can communicate with them. As a doctor, if a person is hurt, and they speak Spanish, you need to be able to understand them to help them.”
Alexandra’s goal is to “make change for other people around the world and give them motivation to do whatever they want. I want to make a change in this world and help other people out.”
-March 18th, 2017
Luis Gallegos is 17 years old and a Senior at Thornton High School. He is very successful academically and has been accepted to MIT. He is a full International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Candidate. Luis is a well-rounded young man and talented and accomplished musician. He is the first to help his peers and community. He has organized and runs peer tutoring for IB students and tutors individual students and groups of students on his own time. He is equally liked and respected by both his peer and the faculty.
“As someone who is very active in school and the community, through orchestra festivals, community service events, MESA Robotics club and more, being a bilingual Spanish speaker consistently helps me open doors. I feel that a big issue in my community, which is heavily multilingual is the presence of a “gap” that might exist between English speakers and those still trying to learn English. I find that being bilingual serves as a “bridge” between two communities that may seem at times disconnected. Too many times, language may be a barrier, so I have used my connection between two language communities to help ease into common ground.” ~Luis Gallegos
-February 2nd, 2017
Yaira Adamari Macias-Flores thinks “it’s cool to be able to talk in another language because not a lot of people speak Spanish and I can.” This 9 year old Mexican American, who loves math, has attended Greenlee Elementary in DPS since ECE and works 45 minutes daily to continue her growth in Spanish in hopes of obtaining her bi-literacy seal and a desire to be able to speak to her family back in Mexico.
Yaira’s parents, Hugo and Salemey, immigrated from Mexico and have taught her to love her culture. Yaira plans on sharing that culture with others by becoming a Mexican chef. Her favorites dishes to make are licuado de banana, mac and cheese and enchiladas rojas de queso. She feels that if she shares the food from her culture that people might “like Mexicans more.”
Yaira reads on grade level in both Spanish and English and uses the languages interchangeably when speaking. She is also able to communicate in both languages through her writing.
This 9 year old is a hard working and focused student. She is always open to feedback and wants to learn and grow in all subjects. Not only is she an excellent scholar she is caring, respectful and kind to all around her. Yaira supports her Spanish speaking classmates when they do not understand. She also enjoys sharing with her classmates.
Yaira is looking forward to when she goes to apply for a job and states that not only is she a good chef but because she speaks two languages she counts as two people.
Colorado Academic Standards Review and Revision Feb 25th
-February 2nd, 2017
The Colorado Department of Education is administering a survey to educators related to the Colorado English Language Proficiency (CELP) Standards. The survey is open through Tuesday, February 28, 2017. Please visit the standards review and revision webpage to access the CELP Standards survey
Please Participate in Colorado English Language Proficiency (CELP) Standards survey