Cumberland County Schools World Language Program Colombian teachers
According to teachers, students who participate in the Cumberland County Schools World Languages program learn valuable life skills.
The program offers two different learning experiences, in five different languages.
Immersion classes teach basic subjects, such as math or science, in a target language, while foreign language classes teach students to speak, read, and write in a target language.
Chinese and Spanish immersion courses and foreign language courses are offered at the primary level.
Immersion and foreign language courses in French, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese are available at the college level.
Spanish, Latin, Chinese, Arabic and French courses are available at the secondary level.
David Green, principal of Anne Chesnutt Middle School, one of two middle schools offering the program, said he quickly fell in love with the Spanish immersion classes.
“My daughter is in second grade and she is able to understand and make sentences in Spanish,” he said. “It amazes me to see what she’s been capable of.”
Spanish immersion classes are offered at EE Miller Primary School, Howard Hall Primary School, William H. Owen Primary School and Morganton Road Primary School. Mandarin Chinese immersion classes are offered at New Century International Elementary School.
High school students who complete the program receive two high school credits, Green added. New Century International Middle School also offers the program.
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Five Colombian teachers, a Chinese teacher, a Saudi teacher and a Puerto Rican teacher teach at Anne Chesnutt Middle School.
Green said he was impressed with the dedication of the international teachers.
Claudia Cardenas, a Colombian teacher at the school, teaches math in Spanish as a way to immerse children in learning the language.
“I decided to teach here because I believe it’s a great opportunity to share my knowledge and improve my teaching skills,” she said.
Angelica Restrepo, a Spanish teacher from Colombia who has been teaching for nearly a decade, said she loves teaching in the United States. Each teacher will begin their second year of teaching in the United States starting in the fall.
“The most important reason for me to come to the United States was to teach, learn and share,” she said.
Both teachers agreed that learning to speak a different language is an important life skill.
“I believe being able to communicate with someone in their language is an incredible gift,” Restrepo said. “Furthermore, the language is the most direct link with the other cultures, traditions, art and history of the people.”
She added that people who can speak more than one language are more competitive in the job market.
Both teachers say they started studying English in primary school.
Restrepo said she was hired through a program called Participate Learning. Cardenas said she was hired through a program called Education Partners International.
Cumberland County Schools has a long-standing partnership with Participate Learning and Education Partners International. Both companies recruit and screen international teacher candidates. If the candidate is approved, their information is placed in a portal that managers have access to, giving them the ability to interview and offer positions to candidates, according to CCS Director of Human Resources Tonya Page, per E-mail.
For more information about the World Languages Program through Cumberland County Schools, visit the school district’s online page.
“It’s never too late to start learning a new language,” Restrepo said.
Health and Education Editor Ariana-Jasmine Castrellon can be reached at [email protected] or 910-486-3561.