Looking to the future – and hoping to have students leave school bilingual and bi-literate in a world that almost demands fluency in more than one language – Escalon Unified School District will begin a dual language immersion program.
The start date will be for the fall 2016 semester and the program will initially begin at the Farmington Elementary School campus, with students learning in both English and Spanish.
“It will start with the kindergarten class next (school) year,” said District Superintendent Ron Costa. “Teachers will be teaching in two languages.”
The initial kindergarten class next year will be the first to be involved in dual immersion, and it will move with them to first grade the following year, with that year’s incoming kindergarten class also going into a dual immersion environment.
Costa said those that want to have their children in the dual immersion program can apply for it when they attend the upcoming kindergarten registration, even if they are not in the Farmington district boundaries.
“We have started to make parents aware of it,” Costa said of the dual immersion opportunity.
He said the Farmington campus was selected to house the initial program because there is room to add a program there and room for expansion on the campus if the program is popular enough to require additional classroom space.
“It’s an exciting program for kids,” he said. “We do have some teachers that can teach in two languages but at this point we don’t know if we are going to need to hire somebody else.”
All that will be determined over the next few months, as the program gets solidified and plans enacted to start the dual immersion with the kindergarten class entering in August, 2016.
“There are other districts in this area that already have dual immersion, Riverbank has one that is very popular, there are also programs in Turlock and Patterson,” said Costa. “They are becoming very, very popular as people see the importance, the opportunity the dual immersion program allows for their students to be bilingual and bi-literate.”
The district’s website offers this information regarding the dual immersion program: “Instruction is provided by highly-trained, caring teachers. Students continue to learn standards-based content while they become fluent in two languages. The curriculum taught is aligned with common core state standards in language arts, mathematics and all other subjects. Throughout the program, students help each other to speak, read, write and understand a second language.”
Costa said there will also be pertinent information provided for the public at a Monday, March 7 meeting, set for 6 p.m. at the EUSD board room, 1520 Yosemite.
“It will be an orientation meeting,” Costa noted, with the program unveiled and questions answered.
Kindergarten registration, meanwhile, will follow later that week for EUSD families. Dates for kindergarten registration are Thursday and Friday, March 10 and 11 at the varying school sites.