Next month, Basalt High School teacher Leticia Ingram will be recognized for her excellence in teaching. Ingram will receive the Virginia French Allen Award for Excellence in Teaching for her work teaching English as a second language. APR's Roger Adams reports.
Ingram is English Language Development teacher and coordinator of Basalt High School’s ELD program.
Originally from Texas, Ingram began in comparative cultures and religious studies and later earned a second Master’s degree in English learning for non-native speakers.
We visited one of her classes where she works largely with Basalt High School’s growing Latino student body. Ingram was trying to quiet a room with about fifteen students.
Most moved to Basalt from Mexico and El Salvador. The kids we spoke with started learning English just two or three years ago. For many they are the only English speakers in their family and that has made them, in some cases, translators for their relatives.
Ingram is energetic and has an easy rapport with these kids. Occasionally she will prompt them with a word or two in Spanish but one of the tenets of teaching English as a second language is total immersion; the teacher use the student’s own language.
Everything on the walls in Ingram’s classroom is in English.
She takes her students outside of the classroom too.
They have gone on multiple English only field trips and she has organized a traditional US Thanksgiving dinner for students and their parents. Ingram has also visited her student’s at home to meet with parents. She made 120 home visits this year.
Basalt High School Principal David Schmid wrote in his nomination letter, “Leticia is an outstanding teacher with a strong belief that all students can learn at high levels, and she has very high expectations for herself and her students.”
About the award, Ingram is modest. Asked several times to talk about the qualities she is recognized for, Ingram turned the attention to her students.
“These are amazing kids,” she says “I’m so proud of them, I’m going to start crying. Just hearing their stories and what they’ve been through, I just think they are amazing kids and they’re going to do great in life.”
Ingram created the English Language Academy for further language development and the Cultural Literacy Class to facilitate community integration. She will receive her award next month in Denver at the annual convention of Colorado Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages