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12 News A+ Teacher of the Week: Starlight Park Elementary School

Brenda Espinoza and Victoria Gonzales teach students in the dual-language program.

"It's all about the kids!" That's the theme at Starlight Park Elementary School in Phoenix this year. 

The staff goes back to that theme with every decision they make to ensure students get a world-class education.

 It reflects in their dual-language program and the teachers who lead it. 

That's why we selected them as our 12 News A+ Teachers of the week.

“You are the 12 News A+ Teachers of the Week,” said Dr. Felicia Durden, principal.

Durden recognized two teachers, instrumental in helping kindergartners learn in the dual-language program. It’s the only one of its kind in Maryvale.

“It’s been challenging at times to start a new program, but we appreciate you and your hard work,” she said.

Editor's note: Below is Amy Ball, a previous A+ Teacher of the Week. 

Brenda Espinoza and Victoria Gonzales were both ELL teachers of the year and teachers of the year runners up for the state of Arizona. They know how to teach second language learners.

“I wasn’t expecting it when I saw you guys coming in, it was like… what’s going on, but it’s exciting,” said Espinoza.

RELATED: 12 News A+ Teacher of the Week: Sunset Hills Elementary

“For us to receive this award and this recognition together is always nice and it brings happiness to me,” said Gonzales.

They are dedicated to making the program a success.

“The kids just brighten up when they’re able to tell me, oh, hello is also hola,” said Durden.

“I used to teach students that came from Mexico without knowing English and they would always say, this is so hard, I can’t do it,” said Espinoza. “I always share my story of, you know, I came here when I was in fourth grade and I understand how difficult that it is to learn a new language, I’m going to help you, it’s okay.”

“It makes me feel happy that they come in and to have kids that talk to me in English and in Spanish… it’s a lot of just repeat after me, say it with me,” said Gonzales.

They’re proud to be part of helping build a strong dual language foundation for these students at a such young age.

“We care a lot about our kids in our community, so it’s just nice to I guess, get that love back,” said Espinoza.

If you know an A+ Teacher who deserves to be recognized, please email us your nomination. Be sure to include the teacher's name, the school they teach at, why he or she should be recognized and your contact information. The email is connect@12news.com.