Nailing math, science and social studies can be tough enough for students, but when English isn't your first language, it's like trying to find your way through a dark tunnel. It's an issue, many school districts across the area are dealing with now, more than ever.
In Virginia, about every where you look there are signs, proof the Hispanic population is on the rise.
Perhaps those who've captured the growth best, are schools.
"A lot of people have come to be with their family members that are here," says Patrice Newnam, Director of Testing for ELL in Henry County schools.
With close to 7,000 students, six to seven percent of the kids in Henry County attend classes called ELL, English Language Learners.
"Well, they help everybody that can't understand English," says Mindy Diaz, a student at Axton Elementary School.
Chelsea Rodgers is one of about 18 ELL teachers in the Henry County district. Her job is two-fold. To make sure Spanish speaking students succeed academically and also make sure they don't feel like an outcast.
"They might come to school and appear shy and that's (not) their personality but because they don't have the English skills, we don't get to see them like who they really are," says Rodgers.
By far, Roanoke City Schools leads the pack with the highest Spanish speaking population. Bedford, Montgomery and Roanoke Counties and Salem have also seen their numbers rise. And for all of these districts, comes the added challenge of communicating with parents. Many speak little English and are reluctant they'll be put under a microscope.
"They are not used to those kind of settings. They come, most of them come from Mexico in this area and they haven't had much opportunity to study," says Daniel Rodriguez, an ELL instructor at Magna Vista High School in Henry County.
Students often, find themselves in reverse roles, teaching their parents.
Ampara Perez's child is in ELL. She sgets excited, knowing her third grader is in a school where they can learn and most of all thrive.
"That's one of the things I tell people you know, you have to put your politics aside. This is a child and when you look at that face you can't say, I don't want you educated," says Newnam.
To help improve relations and make parents feel comfortable, at Magna Vista High School in Henry County, the district offers free English courses for parents. The instructor says it is growing little by little because parents enjoy sitting in the same chairs their kids sit in and learning English.