School should be about choices. Toledo SMART Elementary School, a tuition-free, Spanish-Latino public charter school, is one choice for parents in the Toledo Public School district for bilingual education.
Toledo SMART started classes this fall for kindergarten through second grade. They have 35 students, and almost all of them speak Spanish as a first language. Their curriculum meets state and Common Core standards. Unlike other schools, all of their students have an individual learning plan. This allows teachers to personalize instruction to meet the school’s goal of one and a half to two years of academic growth in one school year. They plan to add one more grade each year.
While the school will greatly impact the lives of the students and their families, Toledo SMART can change the wider community. Maria Gonzales, school administrator, hopes that other schools will follow Toledo SMART’s lead and embrace bilingual education. Not only will it provide bilingual professionals that are needed across the country, but it will provide support to the area’s underserved, native Spanish-speaking population.
“We need to welcome them to our communities, because they give so much of their culture and knowledge to us,” Gonzales said.