Oklahoma City Public Schools employees flock to free Spanish classes

After greeting her new students in Spanish, Giovana Portugal got down to the basics."I need to go to the bathroom," said Portugal, who teaches English language learners at Fillmore Elementary School.

Dallam, 28, an English development teacher at Webster Middle School, spends her days working with bilingual students who need extra help with reading and writing. She jumped at the opportunity to learn Spanish, which is being offered to district workers free of charge.

"In my position now, it would be beneficial to speak Spanish, mostly as a way to communicate with parents," Dallam said. "Usually, when I call home or during parent teacher conferences, I have to use a translator, so it would be beneficial to have those skills." Thursday marked the first day of class for 35 employees — 12 of them teachers — who signed up. Another 130 people who expressed an interest in learning Spanish were put on a waiting list.

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