Truckee’s Spanish language learners are excelling |

Truckee’s Spanish language learners are excelling

Amy Edgett/Sierra Sun

“The little kids are about on the same level, it’s like talking to equals, rather than speaking down to each other,” said Gunnar Sutter, a Truckee High School Spanish 4 student. “There is only so much you can learn from a book.”

“You can’t learn a language in a vacuum,” echoed Karen Hutchinson, who teaches the Spanish 4 class.

The inter-cultural exchange is 21-year classroom model that pairs a Truckee Elementary bilingual class with Truckee High Spanish 4 students. Since February, second grade teacher Amalia Niewendorp has walked her class to Truckee High School for the win-win learning scenario. “The interchange which happens is invaluable,” Niewendorp stated.

The exchange lets the Spanish 4 students understand there is a lot more to know, and at the same time builds confidence. It fills in missing pieces and motivates the students to “impress their little amiguito,” according to Hutchinson.