On Friday, May 6th, dozens of 8th grade students from Duval County schools attended Salsa de Mayo, a Spanish language and cultural event hosted by Julia Landon Middle School. The Salsa de Mayo concept was created by several members of the DCPS Middle School World Language PLC for the purpose of having a culminating event for 8th graders who are studying Spanish. Spanish teachers Linda Dennis of Julia Landon College Prep, and Jacquelyn Cinotti-Dirmann of Oceanway Middle School, co-wrote and received a grant from the Foreign Language Educators of Northeast Florida (FLENEF) to fund Salsa de Mayo. The planning committee, which also included Melissa Cash, Lake Shore Middle School, Paula Furr, Fletcher Middle School, and Sonia Bullock, duPont Middle School, secured additional donations and volunteers for the event so that there was no cost for students to attend.
Spanish teachers from across the district were invited to bring their Spanish I students to participate in the event which included Latin music and dance, Spanish conversation, a nacho bar, and a dance contest. The DJ played Latin music and students were encouraged to speak in Spanish as much as possible as they interacted socially with students from throughout Duval County. As students danced the salsa, merengue and bachata, the teachers themselves also learned the dances during portions of their monthly professional learning community meetings and, in turn, taught the dances to their students. One of the highlights of the afternoon was a salsa dance demonstration by professional dancers from Arthur Murray Dance Studio.
Participating schools included duPont Middle School, Fletcher Middle School, Lake Shore Middle School, Julia Landon Middle School and Oceanway Middle School.