TOLEDO, Ohio — The first Spanish and English speaking school in Toledo is opening for this upcoming school year.

Escuela Smart Academy is also the first merger of a charter school and public school for the area.

Officials said getting a bi-lingual school in the south Toledo area was needed in order to cater to the large Hispanic population.

The whole goal of teaching Spanish and English is to let those students pick up a second language and communicate with people they may not have been able to speak to before.

"The students will begin to engage based on on their primary language and then their secondary language. So, if it's a primary Spanish speaking student, they're going to spend a certain percentage in Spanish and a certain percentage in English. By the time they get to the mid-point of the school year, they should be speaking 50/50," TPS Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant said.

Aside from bi-lingual teachers, all of the staff working at the school is bi-lingual including janitors, bus drivers and hall monitors.

Durant said that having a school like this helps provide the best opportunities for kids in the area because they are able to understand and learn in their native language. 

Having a bi-lingual school is also exciting for the parents because they are able to have their children learning both languages.

"I used to live in North Carolina, which is one of the reasons I also moved back over here is because they actually did have the school. I tried looking up something over there to try to do a bi-lingual school like they do it here, but they didn't have one [that spoke Spanish] a lot," said Sarahi Cortez Castellanos, who has her son enrolled in the school.

The school will also help parents and teachers better communicate.

Durant and other school board officials said this school is a game changer and it's just the beginning. They hope to have a bi-lingual middle and high school too. 

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