Henry Teacher Wins State Bilingual Award

Amanda Flores, first grade teacher at Henry Elementary School, has won the California Association for Bilingual Education 2007 Two-Way Immersion Teacher of the Year Award. Henry Elementary offers two-way immersion instruction, allowing students who are fluent English speakers and students who are fluent Spanish speakers to learn together in the same classroom. The goal is for all students to become bilingual, biliterate and knowledgeable about what it means to live in a multicultural society. The school’s principal, Claire Alvarez, surprised Flores by announcing the news recently in the teacher’s class, where students and parents had just returned from a field trip. "It was the perfect setting, because it’s all about the children and the parents. Everyone was so congratulatory," Flores said. "The news spread very quickly." Flores, who has taught at Henry for the past 14 years, will accept the award at a two-way immersion conference this summer in Burlingame, Calif. "The award just makes me think of the great responsibility we have as teachers to set the direction for our students and help them to be as powerful as they can be," Flores said. "In this program, that means being powerful in two languages." As a winner, Flores will receive a scholarship for a three-week course in Spanish language and culture to be held in Spain in July. In addition, she receives $1,000 to be used for airfare to Spain.