The classroom is lit by a
SMART Board and a few lamps placed in the corner, and 12 teachers are scattered
throughout the room.
“¿Hace frío, clase?” asks Carrie Saucedo, Spanish teacher, as she points to a
snowflake on the board. A resounding “¡Sí!” comes from the class to confirm
that yes, it is getting much colder outside.
There are no textbooks, no conjugation and no homework (except Netflix).
Instead, the class is a continual conversation between peers. This allows
teachers to learn just as they did when they were only children, not
translating from one language to another, but instead learning to identify things
in a new language.
Matt Hotopp and Carrie Saucedo launched the class because of a need they saw in
the Jefferson community. Staff were concerned. “We had a lot of dual language
students in our classes, and it was a struggle for the students and for the
teachers to communicate” Hotopp said.
It is now an official professional development class that teachers may attend
to help bridge the communication gap.
There are already hints of change around the building, Saucedo said. “I had one
of the teachers in the class today come in and talk to the kids in Spanish. She
used some of the words and the phrases that we were using. And the kids
actually answered. It was awesome. It was just really kind of cool to see that
she was trying to use it …. It was really fun to watch those connections start
We hope the students will feel a little more at home knowing their teachers are
giving an extra effort after all the buses have departed and the parking lot
begins to empty.
As a Jefferson teacher myself, I’m so excited to be a part of this process. And
believe it or not, Mr. Hotopp taught me when I was a senior at Jefferson. What
he has done at the school inspires me to try to make change in my own classroom
All after-school activities in Rockford Public Schools are canceled today because of anticipated severe weather and poor road conditions.
Students who live in any RPS 205 attendance zone are welcome to complete an application.
Parents/guardians of children who will be 5 on or before Sept. 1 can visit the Welcome Center, 501 7th St., to enroll.
Rockford Public Schools will honor a teacher, an artist, a musician, an actor and a high school theatre production at its third Fine Arts Hall of Fame Awards in March.
School start times and dismissal will change by 10-to-15 minutes at most schools in the 2019-20 school year.
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