Madrid to Monmouth: Making a difference for local students

Local News

Teachers from Spain are bringing their knowledge to students in Illinois.

It’s part of the Exchange Visitor Teacher Program. There are 138 bilingual teachers in 19 Illinois school districts.

Two of them are at the Monmouth-Roseville Community Unit School District.

Javier Reyes is starting his third year of teaching at Central Intermediate School. This year, he is teaching science in Spanish-only.

The students taking his class speak Spanish. Half their classes are taught in Spanish and the other half in English.

“Our goal is to help them become proficient academically in both languages,” said Amy Freitag, Monmouth Director of English Learning.

With teachers like Reyes, the students are able to learn about other cultures.

Reyes taught 1st through 6th grade drama in Spain before coming to Monmouth.

“There I was teaching in a big city, here we are in a rural school,” Reyes said. “The culture is different, the culture with the teachers. It’s similar with the students because they speak Spanish, but with the teachers, the way the school is is different and that’s a huge learning experience for me.”

Having teachers from Spain at Monmouth helps bring students and teachers together.

“The teachers from Spain are very sensitive culturally and are able to capitalize on students cultures, bring them in to the classroom, celebrate them, celebrate bilingualism,” Freitag said. “It’s a very enriching experience for them to have teachers from Spain and from other countries as well.”

The Monmouth-Roseville school district have had three teachers from Spain through the Exchange Visitor Teacher Program. Freitag said they hope to have another teacher join the school next year.

Illinois joined the program 22 years ago.

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