Dual Language Program Kick-Off

Breaking Barriers
Posted on 09/11/2019
Dual Language Teaching Team

The kick-off of the 2019-2020 school year at Zion Elementary School District 6 also brought with it the kick-off of the Dual Language Program. After a year of planning, this full immersion program is now available to all eligible Pre-K and Kindergarteners through an application process. Current program enrollment is at 51 students, including 19 preschoolers and 32 kindergarteners. Additionally, we have an incredible 7-person Dual Language Teaching Team. In full commitment of this program, District 6 sent three team members to Albuquerque, NM for Early Childhood Glad (Guided Language Acquisition Design) Training this summer from July 22nd-26th. Principal Munoz, Ms. Lobato, and Ms. Sandoval are now GLAD certified and brought back skills that will help to service their language learners academically, linguistically, socially, and civically.

The Dual Language program is hosted at East Elementary School and follows the 80-20 model of instruction. This means that 80% of instruction is taught in Spanish, while 20% of instruction is taught in English. Students switch languages based on the subject matter – for example, math is taught in Spanish, while special classes such as Art and Physical Education are taught in English. Dual Language students are able to achieve the same educational goals as students who are not enrolled in this program, and expectations are the same no matter what language is being used. “Additional language only helps accelerate students’ learning. If we have high standards, they’ll reach them,” says Celia Sandoval, Kindergarten Dual Language Teacher. Students in this program first listen to their instructors speak, then eventually they speak with repetition and song, and lastly the reading comes into play. The instructors, who are trained in early childhood development, know that repetition is key.

A common misconception is that the Dual Language Program is only available to Spanish speaking natives; however, this program is available to both Spanish and English speaking natives. While Bilingual programs exist at other schools in the area, our Dual program is unique because of its capability to teach both. Barriers are being broken, and both students and teachers are incredibly accepting of their peers, no matter their native language. “Diversity doesn’t separate us, it unites us. We accept the children where they are; where they come from. Culture and society are changing, but school is for learning, and we have to accept students for who they are,” says Sandoval.

Parents have been extremely enthusiastic about this opportunity for their children as well. “Collaboration has been amazing, and the parents are eager to help their children practice at home”, Pre-K Dual Language Teacher Ana Lobato shared. Because of this, a big goal is to have “no parent left behind”. To reach this goal, the program will be putting on performances and presentations for families and community members throughout the course of the year. We are extremely excited to have the Dual Language Program implemented into our District, and are looking forward to its continued growth.



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