At LACS, we believe the study of foreign languages improves a student’s education while providing the foundation for further personal enrichment, scholastic achievement, and future economic opportunities. It also sharpens intellect, teaches reasoning and deduction, and hones in logic. Students who are introduced early to a bilingual world can become proficient over time.
Research shows that learning a second language boosts problem-solving, critical-thinking, and listening skills, as well as improving memory, concentration, and the ability to multitask. Children proficient in other languages show signs of enhanced creativity and mental flexibility. As a result, Spanish is taught in our Elementary, Middle, and High Schools. American Sign language is taught in Middle School.
We introduce the Spanish Alphabet in Kindergarten and teach the sounds of letters. Students learn greetings, basic vocabulary, numbers, colors, shapes, and more. First and Second grade students review the material learned the year before, and are introduced to new vocabulary and simple sentence structure. They learn articles, singular and plural words, as well as gender.
In Third and Fourth grade, students begin simple conjugation of regular verbs and are introduced to more complex sentence structure, as well as a more expansive vocabulary. By Fifth grade, students begin conjugation of irregular verbs and continue to practice all of the above.
Our Middle School Spanish class follows a curriculum that is actually used in many Spanish I high school courses. All of our lessons are enriched with cultural activities and traditions, including art and music. Games, geography, and very fun and engaging special projects and activities are part of the curriculum. Our students participate in a Fifth grade Fashion Show, a Middle School restaurant outing, and various video projects. In Middle School, language options expand to include sign language.
In High School, Spanish uses material learned in previous years. The main goal areas include: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities. Learners will master a higher level of communication skills, both spoken and written. They will develop language and cultures comparisons, and they can use the language for enjoyment, enrichment, and advancement. It is our desire to introduce Missions work to Spanish-speaking countries.
The Middle School ASL program exposes students to the basics of American Sign Language. Through a combination of the Start ASL offline course and in-person instruction, students learn essential vocabulary, dig deep into proper ASL grammar, and explore Deaf history and culture.Throughout the course, students gain valuable insight into the perspectives, struggles, and victories of the vibrant Deaf community. Students are provided with videos by ASL professionals which enable them to learn the signs correctly and quickly. Games, conversations, and musical presentations offer students opportunities to practice and refine their signing. A highlight for students is a field trip to the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, where they are able to get a firsthand look at Deaf education and interact with a Deaf tour guide.
Kris Wong, ASL
Kris Wong was born and raised in Hawaii, and graduated with a Bachelor of Education in Secondary Mathematics from the University of Hawaii. While on a student exchange at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she got involved in Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). Following her graduation from UH, Mrs. Wong joined the staff at Cru and served for 13 years working with college students at UCLA, UC Irvine, Cal Poly Pomona, and the University of Hawaii. She helped lead short-term mission projects to the Philippines, New Zealand, and Japan. In 2002, Mrs. Wong moved to the Bay Area with her family, where her two children started attending Los Altos Christian Schools. She began working as a full-time aide at LACS 13 years ago and joined the middle school staff as a math teacher in 2011. Currently, Mrs. Wong teaches middle school math, American Sign Language, and English. During her breaks, she enjoys traveling around the world with her husband and children. Mrs. Wong considers it a joy and privilege to work with youth, helping them grow academically, socially, and most of all spiritually. Her desire for each child is that they would grow as Jesus did: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
Luckie Leiva, Spanish
Luckie Leiva was born in San Francisco but grew up in Guatemala City, where she graduated as a teacher, got married, and had her first son. She was a Kindergarten teacher for four years in Guatemala and then moved back to the US in 1989, where she had her daughter and obtained a California Family Daycare license. In 1997, Mrs. Leiva moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area and started teaching high school and middle school Spanish as well as some elementary afterschool Spanish classes. When she joined the LACS family in 2002, she developed the Spanish Department and became the first Spanish teacher at the school. In 2005, she became a certified Spanish-English Interpreter and Translator from the National Hispanic University in San Jose. She has taken several child development units at Foothill College.
Mrs. Leiva is Founder and Director of the Way to Go Foundation, Inc. She is married to the pastor of Ministerios El Camino Real, a Spanish-speaking church. She developed the Cambios que Rejuvenecen women’s group (Changes that Rejuvenate) and is an active member at her church. She regularly travels to Guatemala on mission trips to help and support schools, orphanages, and churches.
Mrs. Leiva loves nature and has a deep passion for working with children and women. She enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren, and family takes priority in her heart and life.