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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Public Schools is no stranger to Spanish-speaking students.

“We know here in OKC it’s more than 50%,” Linda Lopez, a teacher at Ridgeview Elementary, said.

And children respond better when they see teachers that look like them and speak the language they often hear at home.

Linda Lopez and her daughter, Alexiss started as teacher’s assistants, but through a new effort called the Bilingual Teaching Pipeline Program, they now have their own classrooms.

“If I took one class before her and she needed help with that one class after I would help her, and same with her- like if she took one class and I needed help she would come to me and I would come to her,” Alexiss said.

They love sharing their skills as bilingual teachers and have supported each other throughout their journey.

Linda says her students really respond.

“They feel comfortable because they know that I understand them. That I relate to them, and they’re able to tell me whatever they feel or don’t know,” Linda said.

And the program does more than giving the students emotional support.

“We, through the generous support of community partners, are able to send them to college with absolutely no debt,” Mary Melon, Foundation for OKC Public Schools, said.

Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel says teachers like Linda and Alexiss Lopez are important to the students they teach.

“So our efforts are really getting people into the candidate pool from all different backgrounds,” McDaniel said.

The sponsor of What’s Right with Our Schools, Just Kids Pediatrics is proud to recognize the efforts to teach Hispanic students.

“It’s bridging a gap for students that has been there and it’s gonna continue to do that. So it’s a really innovative and amazing thing,” Dr. Angela Yaffe of Just Kids Pediatrics said.

Preparing our students for success in the classroom through filling the gap between teachers and students is a great example of What’s Right with Our Schools.

What’s Right With Our Schools is sponsored by Just Kids Pediatrics.

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