PORT ARTHUR — The bilingual teacher shortage across the country is hurting local schools in Port Arthur, they are getting creative in the hiring process and looking for teachers outside the country.
"Students learn best from teachers that demonstrate that they care," says Denisse Ledesma, who has been teaching at Bob Hope School for over 2 years.
"The students are my family and I love them," Ledesma says.
"I don't see myself doing something else but teaching," she explains.
Bilingual teachers like her are very rare and the lack of multi-lingual teachers has been a struggle across the nation.
"Within our school we have 46% [English Language Learners] compared to 18% across the state," says Dr. Bobbie Lopez, CEO of Bop Hope Charter School.
"We have a large need for bilingual teachers," he says.
According to a study by Texas A&M, there is only one bilingual teacher for every 46 students struggling with English.
At Bob Hope school, the district is currently looking to hire nearly 40 teachers with different backgrounds, yet taking a different approach in the hiring process.
The district has been searching for candidates inside and outside the country.
The goal is to help better prepare it's student population.
"Especially our minority kids," Dr. Lopez says.
He says if these students see someone of their ethnic background, they have a less chance of dropping out of school.
Dr. Lopez says the ability to speak various languages helps reach to non-English speaking parents.
It's something Ms Ledesma says will help with the learning process of her students.
"If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn," Ledesma says.
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