Community Spotlight: Juan Perez, Dual Language Teacher
This week, Senator McConnaughay spotlights Juan Perez, a dual language, first grade teacher at Otter Creek Elementary School in Elgin. Perez was featured in the Daily Herald this week for his love and dedication of teaching his students a second language.
According to the Daily Herald, Perez is one of the pioneers of Elgin Area School District U-46's Dual Language Program, which started in 2011 with five teachers at just a few schools.
Today, this program is in 33 elementary schools, and serves Spanish-speaking English learners from prekindergarten through eighth grades.
The program offers a bilingual educational where students are taught literacy and academic content in English and Spanish starting in kindergarten. About 80 percent of classroom instruction is in Spanish and 20 percent in English. But as the kids move up in grades, the English instruction increases.
Perez’s first grade classroom consists of native English speakers, or English-dominant students, and native Spanish speakers. He teaches subjects like math, social studies, and science in Spanish about 70 percent of the time.
“Teachers like Mr. Perez are giving students in our district a bright future,” said Sen. McConnaughay. “Hearing Mr. Perez’s story makes me so happy to represent a district where our public schools are doing great things. I encourage him to keep up the good work, and to continue to inspire our young kids.”