By Theresa Harrington
When Pedro Martinez arrived at La Joya Middle School in Visalia, Liz Serrato knew she had to reach him.
“I want to challenge you,” she told him when he said he preferred learning with other Spanish-speaking students. She urged him to take up the trumpet, which helped him meet new classmates.
Martinez came from Michoacán, Mexico – the same part of Mexico where Serrato spent her childhood. Feeling a connection to him because of their shared Mexican heritage, Serrato knew all too well what he and other English learners face. She was 15 when she came to the United States.
Now she’s on a mission to help spread her methods for teaching English learners and closely monitoring their progress throughout the Visalia Unified School District.