By Stacey Bomser
Congratulations to Gator Run Elementary Kindergarten teacher Laura Pantin. She is Read Conmigo’s 2017 Bilingual Educator of the Year for Florida.
“Read Conmigo values bilingual educators who are passionate about their field and who show a dedication to their students and to the mission of bilingual literacy. Ms. Pantin reflects those ideologies,” explains Gator Run Principal Keith Peters. “She is a shining star in the Dual Language/Bilingual field and someone who will continue to lead the way for others in education to create bilingual opportunities for their students.”
One of the reasons Ms. Pantin is so passionate about bilingual education is because she grew up in a bilingual home. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, she moved to the United States when she was six-years-old. She spoke Spanish at home, but English at school. After earning a Masters of Arts in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Columbia University, Ms. Pantin moved to Florida to help launch the Dual Language program at Gator Run Elementary in 2015.
“We are truly blessed to have Ms. Pantin at Gator Run. She has helped to establish the foundation of our Dual Language program to grow and thrive,” states Principal Peters. “Ms. Pantin has developed her own curriculum and is known outside of our school and outside of Broward County as a leader in the Dual Language field.”
Gator Run’s Dual Language program is now in its third year, serving students in Kindergarten through second grade. Each year the school will add another class until it reaches fifth grade.
“Bilingual education is an invaluable opportunity for students to not only acquire native-like fluency in a second language, but also grow empathy and expand their perspectives on other cultures and communities,” shares Principal Peters. “Our program allows for students who are native Spanish speakers to interact with students who are native English speakers or who are speakers of other languages, which offers a unique classroom environment that allows students to learn from each other as well as help each other along the journey.”
Gator Run utilizes Read Conmigo as a complement to its dual language curriculum. Its mission is to “promote biliteracy one family at a time.” It does this by providing bilingual story books for parents to read with their children. Principal Peters say parents, as well as educators, can subscribe and receive the free books, either digitally or in print.
“Since this is a great and easily accessible tool, teachers of our Dual Language program utilize it as a supplement to their lessons in class and also inform parents of this great tool that they can access at home with their children.”
Infinity Insurance founded Read Conmigo in 2011 to help bridge the resource gap between families and their access to enriching bilingual literacy resources. For more information go to www.ReadConmigo.org.