In Arkansas, schools recruit Latino alumni as bilingual teachers

Hispanic students in Springdale are getting the opportunity to pursue an education, and return to the hallways of Springdale schools as bilingual teachers.

“To have students that understand the demographics, that would come back and teach at a home high school would be phenomenal to for them because most of them would be first generation college graduates, and for the school,” said Springdale High School Spanish teacher Rory McWhorter.

The Northwest Arkansas Bilingual Teacher Scholarship program offers eligible students $2,500 a semester if they to go the University of Arkansas and $1,250 for attending Northwest Arkansas Community College.

“This would be a motivating factor in just pushing them to enlist in a school and start because they have nothing to lose and it’s going to be paid for them,” said McWhorter.

Eligible students must be of Hispanic heritage, be a United States citizen, maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average, intend to become a K-12 teacher in Northwest Arkansas, and be enrolled full-time in a degree seeking program at the University of Arkansas or Northwest Arkansas Community College.

“If you’re going to get a job in Northwest Arkansas, you’re going to have to be a good student and show it,” said Dr. Don Love, the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in theSpringdale School District.

Around 44-percent of students in Springdale are Hispanic, so the goal is to have 90 bilingual students come back to the district as teachers within the next five years.

“We have a lot of bright bilingual students that we thought would make excellent teachers,” said Love.

The district is finding destined teachers in the hallways of their own schools and encouraging them to help future Springdale students succeed.

“Parents, if they see that we are striving to improve our circumstances as a school and hire our own, it’s a win-win for the community,” said McWhorter.

“These are our kids, they’re Springdale students… This is a real way to make a difference in the world,” said Love.

The application deadline for the scholarship program is December 31. For more information, and to learn more about Hispanic Scholarship Fund, click here.

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