Franklin Magnet Elementary and Toll Middle School received a significant honor this week with an announcement from the Spanish government naming the schools international academies.
That designation was awarded by Spain’s ministry of education, culture and sport and announced during Tuesday’s school board meeting by Rosario Outes Jimenez, the education adviser for the consulate general of Spain.
Jimenez observed both schools’ Spanish classes over the last school year, looking, she said, for quality instruction and students’ promising academic results.
“I can attest to the quality and excellence in these schools because I have observed them in many opportunities,” she told the school board Tuesday.
Franklin and Toll join Edison Elementary, home to Glendale Unified’s first Spanish dual-language immersion program, as international Spanish academies. Edison received the honor in 2010, seven years after the program was established in 2003.
The three Glendale schools are part of 11 in California to have earned that recognition.
The distinction allows for the Glendale schools to tap into resources provided by Spain’s ministry of education such as qualified visiting teachers and language assistants from Spain who would work in Glendale for one to three years at a time.
In addition, students would have access to scholarships and writing contests that could win them a trip to Spain.
Edison teacher Wendy Rios said the partnership has so far allowed for teachers to get priority to attend educational workshops, receive free instructional materials and have consulate-funded language assistants work with Edison teachers in the classroom.
Franklin Principal Vickie Atikian-Aviles said educators at the magnet school, which houses several dual-language immersion programs, have sought the honor since the beginning of the Spanish program.
“It’s so exciting to finally have that honor bestowed upon us and have all the benefits that come along with it,” she said.
Toll Middle School Principal Bill Card said he was excited about the opportunities it would open up for students.
The middle school currently hosts two teachers from Spain who were also observed by Jimenez, and who keep the rigor for its Spanish students high, Card said.
“The Spanish government saw the strength that was there in what they were representing,” he said of the teachers, adding that the students would be “real linguists” upon finishing their studies.
Once students complete their elementary and middle school Spanish programs, Jimenez said they will receive a certificate from the ministry of education and encouragement to attend college, or high school, in Spain.
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.
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