Program Testimonials

“I am originally from Honduras. Of my eight brothers and sisters, I was the first, and one of only two, to achieve graduating from high school, and later, from the university. I was so very proud of this accomplishment.

When I arrived here to the United States 11 years ago, without knowing English, I felt limited in many aspects and that all of my effort to become a working professional was in vain. After finishing the Bilingual Teaching Fellows program, I now know that I am the completion of this dream.

With great pride, I am able to say that WWU and Highline helped an immigrant woman from an impoverished country fulfill her dreams and goals.”

- Angela Madrid, Kindergarten teacher, White Center Heights

“About 5 years ago, my husband and I quit our full-time jobs to become paraeducators and students in a pilot program through WWU and Highline. Even at the very beginning, my husband and I saw this program for what it is: an incredible opportunity to start a meaningful career, supported by the most talented community of educators and colleagues.

I currently teach 6th grade Spanish at Glacier Middle School in the Highline School District with some of the most amazing staff and students in the state. At Glacier, I have the privilege of teaching students about the joy of language.

Without programs like the Bilingual Teaching Fellows, we risk missing out on an untold number of quality teachers and we risk the educational futures of our children."

Sandra Ruiz Kim6th grade World Language Teacher, Glacier Middle school

In a recent article published in The 74, Sandra shared this about her experience from the Fellows program: “We were able — even as first-year teachers — to have meaningful conversations about improving practice,” she said, adding that the experience also gave her access to a network of colleagues, “which can be vital for career progression in an industry that often depends on professional relationships and word-of-mouth reputation.”

group of future bilingual teacher fellows in graduation robes

“As a parent, I have to tell you when I visited an elementary school in Highline Public Schools and visited a 1st-grade classroom taught by a Bilingual Teacher Fellow, I cried midway through. Their instruction was SO expert. There was CONSTANT oral output, gesturing, supported literacy development, and visuals. I’m so glad those 23 kids get these awesome teachers! Just great! Total highlight!”

Parent of an elementary school student

"I am currently teaching a Vietnamese dual-language program at Cascade Middle School. The bilingual teaching fellows program means so much to me. Being in the program, I learned current practices in elementary education, strategies to support all student’s needs such as English Language Learners, students with special needs education, and bilingual students. I was able to apply my learning to my everyday small groups and my mentor’s classroom. The program prepared me to be ready to teach many subjects, and especially to work in a Vietnamese dual-language program. I received support from my mentors, staff in my school building, district, WWU professors, and my Vietnamese community during the two-year program.

In the Highline district, we have 94 languages. I feel so honored and hopeful that our Vietnamese community gets stronger and our dual language students will graduate bilingual and bi-literate.  And our Vietnamese program is the first Vietnamese dual-language program in public schools.

This means so much to the Vietnamese community, which is growing in South King county. I hope the bilingual teaching fellows program will continue to train strong Vietnamese teacher candidates so our Vietnamese programs can support students until they graduate high school, and more students can keep their roots with both Vietnamese and American culture"

Lan Nguyen, Vietnamese dual-language teacher, Cascade Middle School

Cohort 2 Fellows sitting on steps at Western.

Cohort 2 Graduates!

Bilingual Teaching Fellows celebrate 2nd cohort graduation and welcome 3rd cohort! Learn more about the program.

View a 2-minute slideshow of photos celebrating the Bilingual Teaching Fellows!

See Bellingham Public Schools post on spring 2020 graduate, Kaveh Ahmadi, first grade teacher, Geneva Elementary.

“We have had reports from mentor teachers that the Bilingual Teaching Fellows are some of their most prepared student teachers because of all of their on-the- job experience in schools through the program. As district curriculum specialists and coaches, we appreciate the opportunity to teach in the program and train the fellows in our district’s particular curriculum and instruction context and feel they are better equipped to step into the role of a first year teacher in our district.”

Rachel Hoff, ELL and Dual Language Curriculum Specialist