Upperclassmen participate in internship at Park Spanish Immersion
October 28, 2016
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The students of the Spanish Language Internship Program (SLIP) have the opportunity to leave school and travel to Park Spanish Immersion (PSI) and make an impact on students needing help with homework outside of regular BSM school hours.
SLIP is predominantly student run with the help and direction of Mrs. Mary Murray. The program consists of eight juniors and seniors who have completed the highest Spanish classes offered at BSM and want to do more to make a difference in their community.
Students in SLIP travel to Park Spanish Immersion (PSI) every Monday and Tuesday during seventh and eighth hour to help PSI students with their Spanish homework. After working with the program for two years, BSM has high expectations for students to continuously influence and inspire PSI students to dedicate themselves to their academics. Elier Meraz-Barrera, a senior in the SLIP program, hopes to stand as a role model for these young students and help them to the best of his ability. “I’ve heard the program has been successful in the past, and I hope we can make a bigger impact this year,” Barrera said.
Some changes to the program this year will hopefully show progress in the years to come. “I added a few more prompts that the BSM students must respond to as well as a service learning project that the PSI kids will coordinate with their teacher,” Murray said.
The class brings along responsibility and tasks that need to be completed. “My job is to go to PSI and assist kids with their Spanish homework for a few hours every week. Most of the kids are very advanced when it comes to speaking and writing Spanish, but all of them appreciate the extra help that isn’t offered through their school system,” Barrera said.
The SLIP program provides opportunities for high school students at BSM to make connections with younger kids needing help on their Spanish skills. It allows them to share their skills with those who need it and make personal connections with the PSI students. “I’ve been very impressed with the students so far. I have learned to hold them all to a high standard because they are a lot smarter than you think,” Barrera said.
Within the untraditional structure of the SLIP program, the BSM students must write a one-page summary of the class at the end of each semester, as well as a weekly discussion online. Both assignments allow students to bring what they learn independently into the group. “The one-page reflection gives us a way for us to reflect on our experience and share our personal stories in the program,” Barrera said.
Not only does SLIP enable BSM students to get out of the classroom and involve themselves with others in the community, but it’s only a select few who get to participate. “Students can only be a part of the program if they have a teacher recommendation, have immersion or near native fluency, and be able to drive back and forth from PSI,” Murray said.
The program can also count towards their high school education. “Students get one language credit per semester for being part of the program, but it doesn’t count for any NCAA credits,” Murray said.
Looking ahead for years to come, the program hopes to gain more and more members and expand their outreach past PSI. “We have six more people than last year already, so if it grows a lot next year we look to add an additional place to hold them, possibly opening it up to companies with Target, Cargill, and General Mills, depending on the numbers,” Murray said.