Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Pictured, l to r: Ambassador Ramon Gil-Casares, Blythe Academy Principal Dr. Sandra Griffin, and Xavier Gisbert da Cruz
Dr. Sandra Griffin, principal of Blythe Academy of Languages and Priscilla Hoffman, magnet school coordinator, recently returned from Washington, D.C. after accepting the International Spanish Academy Elementary School of the Year Award from the Spanish Embassy.
The School of the Year Award is given to U.S. schools that demonstrate effective methods of integrating content and language learning. Each year, the embassy’s office of education selects a winner from among hundreds of schools around the country. The award is open to both primary and secondary public, private and charter schools. First-, second- and third-place winners are chosen in elementary, middle and high school categories. First-place winners each receive $5,000.
The foreign language immersion program at Blythe was the first in South Carolina and is the only one of its kind in Greenville County Schools. The immersion program at Blythe includes a half-day of instruction in either French or Spanish.
Principal Griffin explained, “Eighty percent of Blythe students participate in the partial immersion programs; 63 percent in Spanish and 17 percent in French. The content areas of math, science, and health are taught in the target languages of Spanish and French. Other subjects are taught in English.”
Blythe students are taught using the same curriculum standards as all elementary students in the district and are assessed using SC state assessment programs. “Our students demonstrate continued high levels of academic achievement. The most recent SC State School Report Card ratings were Excellent for both absolute and growth categories, resulting in two Palmetto Gold Awards,” said Griffin.
Blythe recently received Safe Schools Recognition for the fourth year, a Healthy Schools Recognition, and the school is also the recipient of a $25,000 Safe Routes to Schools Grant. Parent support is strong, with PTA volunteer hours totaling over 26,000 this school year.