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LEAD Public Schools

Record Number of LEAD Southeast Students Earn College Credit Through Language Placement Test

At LEAD Southeast High, one teacher is taking “ready for college” to the next level by ensuring her students earn college credit before they even walk in the door. This year, a record number of 25 students scored high enough on the Spanish language placement test at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) to earn credit hours for multiple courses.

“It encourages them to take the first step [to college] when they know they have already achieved something instead of starting something completely new or from scratch,” said Marly Foad, who teaches three different Spanish courses at LEAD Southeast High.

Collectively, the students earned 291 hours of college credit, with 13 students earning enough hours to be only two courses away from acquiring a minor in Spanish. Of the 25 students, ten are not native English speakers, making Spanish the third language they have mastered.

“Learning a new language opens many doors for my students,” said Foad. “We traveled abroad last March to Costa Rica–these opportunities motivate my students to learn a new language.”

Not only will Foad’s class help students earn college credit in high school, it also saves them money on paying for college classes. The highest scoring students will save up to $13,000 by bypassing five Spanish language courses in college. The impact Foad is making on her students’ futures is undeniable.

“Marly is a passionate teacher who has high expectations for all of her Spanish students and believes that they will succeed, regardless of home language,” said Jess Simmons, an instructional manager at LEAD Southeast High. “As a native Arabic speaker, she understands the challenges of learning Spanish as a second, third, or fourth language and is able to help students navigate these difficulties with kindness and grace.”

Foad hopes her class not only benefits students in college, but also in life. “[I love] opening the eyes of my students to different cultures and traditions and showing them what they can do with learning a new language.”

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