Unity Through Language: Columbine Elementary’s Journey to Learn Spanish

Columbine elementary school music teacher taking Spanish classes

Upon entering Columbine Elementary’s library, visitors are met with a chorus of determined pronunciations, occasionally punctuated by triumphant rolls of ‘R’s’.” The atmosphere is charged with the collective energy of staff absorbed in their mission. They’re mastering the basics, from simple greetings to subtle articulations. This is a gathering of committed professionals, a mix of classified and certified staff, united by a shared goal: to learn Spanish.

In a school where every member of the community is considered family, communication is key. Recognizing the diversity of their stakeholders, these educators have chosen to invest their time and effort in learning a new language. Their collective commitment to better engage with parents and students speaks volumes about their devotion to the Columbine community.

“For a small school, the fact that we have 15 educators staying after work on a Friday to take an optional language course for the sole purpose of communicating better with our community – it warms my heart,” said Julia Cooper, Principal, Columbine Elementary. Their effort is a testament to their unwavering dedication to connect with their community. And they’re in it for the long haul – for twelve weeks, the school library will echo with their persistence and progress.

As staff gather in the library, textbooks and notebooks in hand, their determination is palpable. They approach their studies with the same enthusiasm and diligence that they bring to their classrooms. Each word learned, each phrase mastered, is a step towards breaking down linguistic barriers and building bridges of understanding.

Heather Pias, Preschool Teacher at Columbine participating in Spanish Class

“I’m really excited about this opportunity to learn a little bit more Spanish, although a little scared too. I’ve always had a few parents in my preschool classes each year that I’m unable to directly communicate with them due to language barriers,” shared Heather Pias, Preschool Teacher, Columbine Elementary. “We have always encouraged families to enroll in English classes, so I think this is the perfect opportunity to lead by example.” 

For these staff members, this endeavor is more than just a language class. It’s a gesture of respect, a commitment to inclusivity, and a reflection of their genuine care for the community they serve. “When teachers are able to communicate with families, it positively affects students’ behavior and academic success,” stated Pias. Their efforts extend far beyond the classroom, reaching into the homes and hearts of their students and families. 

For the Columbine community, this display of devotion is a source of pride and comfort. It reaffirms that their children are in the hands of educators who go above and beyond, who are willing to invest not only in their academic growth, but in their cultural understanding and connection.

As the weeks go by, the progress made in those Friday afternoon classes becomes evident in the hallways and classrooms. Conversations flow more smoothly, smiles widen, and a sense of unity permeates the school. For teachers like Pias, her hope is that as she learns more Spanish, it will help her understand her families’ questions and needs. “It also helps them feel more comfortable communicating with me.”

In the end, this small but significant act of dedication is a testament to the extraordinary spirit of the Columbine staff. It’s a reflection of their unwavering commitment to the betterment of their community, one word, one phrase, one connection at a time.

Columbine Elementary School