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World Language Middle School Celebrates Award Winning Staff Member

rosa rajona

November 28, 2023 – The World Language Middle School staff are no strangers to excelling inside and outside the classroom. Rosa Arjona is no exception. 

“As teachers, we make a huge impact on our student’s lives,” Arjona said. “We can foster meaningful learning experiences by providing a safe space where our students feel they belong and their opinions matter.”

As she walks through the hallway, she is greeted with smiles and congratulations from her peers for her Ohio Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (Ohio TESOL) Excellence in Teaching Award. 

"Ms. Rosa has a tact to know how students learn,” said Principal Sandra Santos. “She has a way of relating to students through their stories and how they learn. Her attention to detail allows her to excel in encouraging her peer's educational and professional journey." 

Nominated for the Ohio TESOL Excellence in Teaching Award by Santos, Ajona credits the leadership that Santos provides for the school as her driving force to continue to try new and creative ideas.

“Awareness is the key, being aware that there is a lot that we don’t know about our student’s life experiences is very powerful,” said Arjona. “Respecting their background, acknowledging their trauma, and showing empathy are among the first steps in building strong relationships that will allow effective learning to take place.”

Arjona is an English as a Second Language Teacher; when she is not working to shape young minds, she is working hard to assist students' parents in learning English as a second language at home. She credits her success as a teacher to providing a space where people are dedicated to learning in their own way. 

Columbus City Schools has seen enrollment of ESL students increase from 8,094 in 2017 to 8,780 in 2023, the District expects this number to continue to increase. To offer support to those families and students, Arjona and colleagues are taking this opportunity to be creative in their teaching by crafting student specific goals.

“I am blessed with the opportunity to serve a diverse population of students who deserve to be taught in their particular learning modalities,” said Arjona. “Before I engage in teaching, I take time to understand how my students feel about learning, and I try to assess how their life experiences can impact their behavior in the classroom.”

Arjona says she can relate to students that are new to the country, as she too had to learn a new way of life coming from her home country. She was in the eighth grade when her family left the Dominican Republic. Navigating pre-teen life involves adapting to a new lifestyle, handling stress, making friends, fitting in, and dealing with the added challenge of being in a culturally different environment. 

She expressed her gratitude and the unique experience that people working at CCS get to experience kids of all backgrounds and ethnicities from all over the world, which is unique to our school district.

“I am hopeful to take my career to the next level by taking leadership classes and becoming an administrator one day,” said Arjona. “I wish to lead by example and continue to make an impact on my student’s lives.”