Consistency and Continuity

Lindsay Dance, K-5 Spanish Teacher from Beaverton, OR

I teach K-5 Spanish at a PYP candidate school in Beaverton. PYP, Primary Years Program, is the elementary level of the International Baccalaureate program. PYP builds children who are communicators, collaborators and critical thinkers. A second language is a key and mandatory component. Students are empowered to become global citizens and develop a love for learning languages. It takes years to fully implement a PYP program and requires continuity in staff, significant training and great collaboration across subject areas.

“I teach about 140 students each day and travel class to class since we do not have space for a Spanish classroom.”

We are a relatively small school, with 370 students, which allows for a strong sense of community. I teach about 140 students each day and travel class to class since we do not have space for a Spanish classroom. We already have been creative in adding two classrooms to our library space to accommodate our growing population. At the beginning of this school year two kindergarten classes had to share a classroom while we waited for one to be built. We are clearly already impacted by the budget as it stands today.

My students need a dedicated classroom and the ability to keep consistent staff in a PYP program that requires training, collaboration and years of consistency to be successful.

Because of the impending budget cuts, I was recently informed I may lose my position. The loss of a teacher due to budget cuts is a tragedy. Teachers are a part of a community and they can often be the only stable figure in a child’s life. As a specialist who has built a relationship with all 370 students, including two Social Communication Classrooms (children primarily impacted by autism), the impact would be great. The PYP is a program that takes years to fully implement. As the first Spanish teacher at my school, I have worked to ignite an initial excitement and passion for learning languages. If you were to walk our halls, you would surely hear little voices singing and greeting each other in Spanish. Parents reach out to tell me how much their child loves Spanish and students often share stories about how and where they have seen or used the language. We are at a moment in history when we need to be strengthening and supporting second language programs and their teachers, not making debilitating cuts. We are educating the next generation of leaders whom we want to be caring, open-minded risk takers and for that to happen, we must be appropriately funded.

Lindsay Dance is a K-5 Spanish Teacher from Beaverton, OR. #OREducatorVoices

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