We heard one of our previous Springboard graduates had opened a school here in Chattanooga. We had to find out more, so we went by to check it out. Laurie Stevens is the founding director of the new Chattanooga School of Language in Highland Park! These are some of the exciting things we learned.

The CSL is an international language instruction school with an emphasis on cultural experience and structure. They offer a relaxed atmosphere for beginner, intermediate and advanced level classes. The goal is to create a more aware, inclusive and educated community through language and culture.

Each of the teachers from the CSL has international experience in their specialty. This enables them to bring that culture to the classrooms. They also teach without using books, which Stevens feels creates a more accurate portrayal of real-life.

“Chattanooga recognizes international culture and has brought it to the forefront lately”, said Laurie.  With the addition of the Volkswagen plant and the formation of a new International Business Council at the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, Stevens wants to feed off this increased international awareness. She sees language as the path to cultural understanding.

Laurie began by attending a Springboard class from The Company Lab. She started with just an idea that later blossomed into the CSL. She said the class was beneficial because it taught her how to develop a business plan and become aware of technicalities she may not otherwise have considered. Already familiar with non-profits, she said the class was “a good starting guide for connections in the community and learning the basics of starting a business. It was encouraging because everyone had ideas and could bounce those ideas off each other”, something that ultimately helped her a lot. It was about a 1-year process of researching and talking with people around the community about what they would want from a language school before she put the plan in to action.

Laurie said she hopes to grow and expand over the next few years into a multicultural center offering a variety of cultural opportunities such as arts and music. She would like to offer classes throughout the day and add children’s classes as well.

The first class began on October 10 at La Paz in Highland Park. Classes last 6 weeks (2 classes/week for 2 hours/class) and are private (only you), semi-private (2-3 students)  and group (4-10 students). Classes can be structured around your schedule and level of knowledge also. So whether you are wanting to brush up on your foreign language skills or learn a totally new language prior to taking a trip, these classes can be tailored to fit your individual needs.

It is always great to see new schools opening up in Chattanooga, especially when they are unique like the CSL. We love to hear stories from people who have taken our business classes and are doing big things in the community, like Laurie. If you have any questions or would like to get involved with the CSL, please contact Laurie Stevens at (423) 802-2040.

(picture from Nooga.com article – http://www.nooga.com/17885_chattanooga-school-of-language-opens-in-highland-park/)