Bilingual Guide Program Partnership

Bilingual Guide Program is Part of Strong Ongoing Partnership Between Norton Museum and John I. Leonard High
Posted on 11/18/2022
John I Leonard ISA Students at the Norton Museum

The International Spanish Academy students at John I. Leonard High School will continue to learn while using their knowledge of art and their bilingual skills to help visitors at the Norton Museum of Art. Each year during the fall, students answer questions, give tours, and engage with visitors in English and Spanish during the run of special exhibitions at the museum.

The students are part of a Humanities class in which Norton staff lead a 10-week program of training in English and Spanish, with students splitting time between school and the museum. Students learn about the art pieces and artists, while also acquiring skills to interact with visitors at the museum, as well as how to start conversations about art in the galleries.

“It's a great opportunity to learn multiple phases of a job, speak in public in both languages, and learn to appreciate art,”' said Carla Rodas-Pina, the International Spanish Academy and Latinos in Action Teacher at John I. Leonard High. “I think it is a great opportunity for all of us to realize that Norton is part of our community and is available to everyone regardless of the language we speak.”

This year, five 11th graders and nine 12th graders are part of the class, and every student is bilingual. Students learn to appreciate and describe works of art using art-specific terms. After completing the training, students have the opportunity to be hired by Norton as a Guide. Students learn to see the museum as part of their community, which encourages them to invite friends and family to enjoy the museum.

The Norton-Guide class is a collaboration between the Norton Museum and John I. Leonard High students who belong to the International Spanish Academy and Latinos in Action. The collaboration was started in 2021 by former Principal Melissa Patterson, and current Principal Dr. Jesus Armas has gladly continued and supported the program.

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