Scott Dual Language Magnet School teaches students from pre-school through 5th-grade in both Spanish and English in hopes of making students bilingual.
Some of the school’s pre-school and Kindergarten students start school as native Spanish speakers while other students only know English.
The school is made up of about half Spanish speaking students and about half English speaking students.
“We have four teachers per grade level,” said Scott Dual Language Magnet School principal Dr. Pilar Mejía. “Of those four teachers, two are Spanish speaking and two are English speaking.”
From pre-school through 5th-grade students learn science and social studies entirely in Spanish, while learning Math entirely in English.
Students are aided by the fact that they are partnered with a student whose first language is the opposite of their native language, according to Mejía.
The goal is that all students will leave fifth-grade able to read, write, listen and speak in both languages.
Mejía said being bilingual opens students up to new perspectives and new opportunities.
She said it’s something she understands as she herself went to a bilingual school in her home country of Columbia.
She said knowing both English and Spanish created many possibilities she wouldn’t have otherwise had.
“I would not be here, in this country, principal of a bilingual school, had my parents had not had that vision.”
Mejía said she wants to use that same vision to open up her students to a world of opportunities.
Enrollment is open to students in the Topeka Public School District.
It doesn’t end at 5th-grade though.
Students can continue their bilingual education after leaving elementary school at Landon Middle School and Topeka High School.