A Dual Language Academy will be offered at Collegeville Elementary School, with an informational meeting coming up next week.
The information session is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at Collegeville Elementary, corner of Jack Tone and Mariposa roads. A second information meeting will be hosted at the Escalon High School library on Yosemite Avenue on Thursday, March 1 at 6 p.m. with registration for the academy opening on Thursday, March 8.
Dual Language Immersion, DLI, programs are designed to integrate speakers of different languages in the same classes. All students acquire a second language as they learn grade level content. Immersion education has been in existence in the U.S. for nearly 40 years and the number of immersion schools has been on the rise, with an estimated 300 schools nationwide. The majority of the programs are Spanish/English immersion.
The DLI program at Collegeville will follow a 90/10 Immersion Model with Spanish being the primary language of instruction in the early grades. English will be gradually introduced as students progress through grade levels, until there is a 50/50 balance of both languages in fifth grade. In general, classrooms are about 50 percent primary Spanish speakers and 50 percent primary English speakers; the classroom composition should never fall below 30 percent for either linguistic group, officials said.
Goals of the new Collegeville Dual Language Academy are to have all students able to understand, speak, read and write both languages at grade level by the end of fifth grade; have all students demonstrate mastery of grade level standards and have students develop positive understanding and attitudes about themselves and others, promoting cross-cultural understanding.
School district officials said the program has been shown to help pave the way to higher education for students. With the dual immersion program, they develop academic language in both English and Spanish and many students choose to take Advanced Placement Spanish courses in high school. The courses prepare students to pass AP tests and earn college credit.
According to information from the school district regarding the new academy, “The cognitive benefits of learning two languages and the academic rigor of the program prepares students for college education.”
The registration period opens March 8; the Dual Language Immersion placement assessments will be done at a later date, to be determined following the registration period.