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
Students who are new to RPS 205 must first enroll in the district.
The state released formal guidelines on Tuesday about what in-person learning will look like this fall.
This message might not surprise you, but we wanted to share our disappointment with our students and graduates.
RPS 205 teachers and students will comply with all Illinois Secretary of State and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines.
Please enroll for the 2020-21 school year before July 10.
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