Christopher Perea Ortega, an eighth grader at John Spry elementary on Chicago’s Southwest Side, loves to play guitar and the bass, especially when he is anxious.
Lately, that’s been happening a lot to deal with the stress of sitting at his computer for remote school and trying to understand his teachers in English.
Christopher’s parents only speak in Spanish to their children at home. The shy 14-year-old with a quirky sense of humor was in his school’s transitional bilingual program from kindergarten to fourth grade. He received language support to help transition from learning in Spanish to learning fully in English.
It’s been very rocky, said his mother, Nury Ortega.
“[The program] was really frustrating for us since kindergarten,” Ortega said in Spanish. “We had to make improvements in Spanish, but also in English. … We were told at school that in fourth grade, nobody will speak to him in