Campus & Community

Jupiter Middle students get PBSC campus tour in Spanish

By Jesus Cruz

A group of Spanish-speaking eighth grade English Language Learner (ELL) students from Jupiter Middle School recently had the chance to tour Palm Beach State College’s campus in Palm Beach Gardens. The tour was conducted in Spanish, a unique opportunity not often extended to students at such a young age.

“We are very excited to have this partnership with PBSC because it allows our ELL students to see what is possible for them,” said Lisa Hastey, the principal at Jupiter Middle. “Between the tour and the volunteers who assist our ELL students, this is the first step in planting the seeds of their future.”

This is the second year the ELL students visited the Palm Beach Gardens campus. The purpose of the tour is to give the students an introduction and insight into potential colleges and career paths.

“We are the only school that offers a completely bilingual tour of PBSC to our Spanish-speaking ELL students, made possible through a Multicultural grant,” said Jody Nolf, the ESOL coordinator at Jupiter Middle.

Following the tour, the students visited the college’s Biotechnology Program lab where they met and briefly collaborated with PBSC students on a scientific learning activity that involved studying DNA. The visit allowed the PBSC students to connect with the ELL students, while serving as role models and examples of what they could achieve in their future.

Lisa Hastey, principal of Jupiter Middle School, and Dr. Tunjarnika Coleman-Ferrell, dean of student services and provost of the Palm Beach Gardens campus.

“It is so important for middle-school aged students to gain exposure to the STEM disciplines, and what better way to do so through a hands-on activity [delivered fully in Spanish] where they isolate their own DNA,” said Alexandra Gorgevska, the department chair of Biotechnology.

This year the schools took the partnership a step further by offering free after-school tutoring for ELL students to help them with reading skills, language acquisition, and homework. Volunteers from the Honors College and from the Spanish Honor Society provide the tutoring services.

Jesus Cruz is an engagement specialist for the School District of Palm Beach County. The story was posted with permission.

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