February 25, 2012
Research indicates learning a second language increases brain growth and promotes healthy brain functions. In addition, our nation is increasingly diverse, and our planet has flattened as we move further into the 21st century. Effective communication and critical thinking skills are essential in this modern, technologically driven world. Imagine the power of possessing academic language proficiency, and the ability to effectively communicate, in two languages. The advantages of biliteracy and bilingualism in today s age are clear, and the power of its potential to create future opportunity is limitless. Next school year, Dual-Language Immersion Program enrollment will be OPEN to ALL 2012-2013 students in Kindergarten through Grade 2. The Dual-Language Immersion program will expand, yearly, into each subsequent grade-level as students continue to advance. EastLake Elementary currently offers a Dual-Language Immersion (DI) Program in Kindergarten and 1st grade. The goals of the Dual-Language Immersion Program are to promote English and Spanish biliteracy, bilingualism, and biculturalism through formal academic language instruction and academic language development. An informational meeting inviting all current Kinder and 1st grade families was held on February 1, 2012. Information regarding the benefits of foreign language instruction beyond elementary school years, with implications for middle/high school and college entry, was shared. In addition, a change to the Dual-Language Immersion Program s instructional model at EastLake was presented. Preliminary survey data acquired since the informational meeting indicates strong school-community interest to move forward with program adjustments to EastLake s Dual-Language Immersion Program. To view the February 1 presentation materials, please visit: http://www.cvesd.org/schools/Eastlake/pages/programs.aspx The new Dual-Language Immersion model maintains the original program goals of biliteracy, bilingualism, and biculturalism. For half the school day, students will learn English Language Arts and mathematics in English. The other half of the school day will be conducted studying Spanish Language Arts and science/social science, in Spanish, in a different classroom with another teacher. Equal exposure to two languages, ensuring 50% of the instructional minutes in each school day is devoted to either language (Spanish or English) is referred to as a 50/50 Dual-Language Immersion model or Two-Way Language Immersion. A program shift to the 50/50 Dual-Language Immersion model creates several program advantages for EastLake, including: Language balance. Students will develop English language arts and Spanish Language arts proficiency (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) through a 50/50 instructional model beginning in Kindergarten, and as students advance through grade 6. A true language-immersion experience with two language teachers in two separate classroom environments, at each grade-level, each with the primary purpose of developing literacy and academic language in English and Spanish. Students will rotate between languages and teachers. Allow newcomers to the Dual Immersion program. Previously acquired language instruction, in English or Spanish, will provide a language foundation to support simultaneous learning of two languages. Student-models of each language will promote language learning and enrich learning environments. Increased program participation and more students meeting program goals will allow for teacher teams and professional collaboration at each grade level.
- submitted by a school leader