Elementary World Language Teacher, HCPSS Alumna Gives Back

Kimberly Morales teaches Spanish to Pre-K through 5th-grade students at Bryant Woods Elementary School. With 90 percent of class time spent speaking in Spanish, Morales explained that, “in the classroom, we do a little bit of everything, including singing and dancing. There’s a lot of movement and visuals. Gestures help. There are lots of opportunities to engage with the language through speaking, listening, writing and reading.”

Morales, whose first language is Spanish, is a strong advocate for learning a new language early. She feels fortunate she can make a difference at Bryant Woods, saying, “I can impact the Hispanic community and other populations by giving them the opportunity to learn a second language and prepare for the future.” Bryant Woods is one of eight elementary schools that has incorporated daily world language instruction as part of HCPSS’ Elementary School Model. Research shows that learning a second language in the early grades gives young children a boost in intellectual growth and academic achievement.

Morales is an alumna of Wilde Lake High School and wanted to give back to the Howard County school community by teaching here. Morales shared that she took part in the teen parenting program when in high school, where the teachers supported her dream to pursue teaching. “I decided to go into the teaching field because I saw the passion that many of my teachers had and their belief in me,” Morales said. “I knew I wanted to be a teacher and knew I wanted to be where I felt supported and could grow.”

Morales has developed professionally through a wide range of HCPSS educator positions. Roles she’s held include kindergarten paraeducator; academic intervention paraeducator; special education paraeducator; and Black Student Achievement Program camp Spanish teacher, assistant site coordinator and academic mentor. Morales explained that by holding these varied positions, “I observed many teaching strategies. It helped me build knowledge of how to build relationships with students, even how to present a lesson. It helped me realize I’m meant to be a teacher.”

Her current role perfectly matches her bachelor’s in Modern Languages and Linguistics, with a concentration in Spanish and minor in Early Education. She is currently pursuing a master’s in leadership in special education from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

For the original story on Kimberly Morales, visit http://hcpssne.ws/29zNZ2X.