June 22, 2011
AP Spanish Academy
A group of students from Acton Middle School and Granbury Middle School recently completed a week-long academy for an Advanced Placement Spanish class that they will take next school year.  The academy was held June 13-17, 2011.


While seventh graders, students who are strong Spanish language speakers are surveyed to determine if they would to be strong enough for the program.  Several are invited to the summer academy.


“At the academy, students get acquainted to the AP teachers and classmates through fun team-building activities,” commented GISD post-secondary programs coordinator Victor Sauceda.  “They also form strong bonds with students from the other middle school, which will assist them and their teachers for inter-campus communication lessons. Through multiple hands-on activities and computer research, the students get a preview of the student expectations, learning objectives, activities, materials, and resources for the year.”


The underlying idea of the program is to turn these students’ native language into an academic asset, allowing them to take advanced courses early in their school careers.  By introducing students to a more challenging academic standard in middle school, the program opens up pathways to college.


In the class next school year, the students enhance their speaking and writing skills while being placed on track to pursue a college education. The group takes the AP Spanish exam at the end of the year. If they receive qualifying scores, they could receive college credit for this course.


“Through three years of implementation, this program has motivated Hispanic students to take more rigorous AP and dual credit courses,” said Sauceda.  “Teachers do a great job at reminding the students to set college as a goal and set it high on their priority list.  This program has also allowed these students to pursue distinguished graduation programs, which puts them on the map for colleges who are looking to grant scholarships for high performance on rigorous courses.”


The program has been extremely successful, according to Sauceda.  “We definitely have seen the difference this program has made in the school careers of these students,” he stated.  “They see more academically driven, more confident to challenge themselves, and specifically more proud of their heritage and the fact that they are bilingual individuals.”


The program began in 2008 with 24 students.  37 are expected for the 2011-12 school year.


Pictured above are the 2011 academy students with (left to right) GMS teacher Reyna Nuñez-Lucero, Sauceda, and AMS teacher Rosa Magallanes.

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