What is Dual Immersion?
Dual immersion is a general term for teaching two languages at once. It comes in many forms, but for the Natrona County School District #1 (NCSD#1), it will consist of 50% of a student’s time in English and 50% of the time in the second language. The student will be taught math, civics/history and science in the second language and then English, literature and a generalized review would happen in English.
How will the “other” teacher know what is going on?
Dual Immersion is only successful if teachers work as a team. The collaboration between the two teachers will ensure that academic success does NOT get left behind.
What languages are being proposed?
Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin)
Will these two languages be at the same school?
No. Parents will need to choose which language they would like to immerse their child in and enroll them at that school.
How many schools will have dual immersion?
In the beginning, we will be at two schools, one school per language. However, in Utah, the program has been so successful that the number of schools has increased dramatically.
What happens to the test scores of students enrolled in Dual Immersion?
Initial test scores slip a small fraction as the students spend time learning the basics of another language. However, once those students reach third grade, they tend to do as well as or outperform their English only peers. All curricula are tied to the Common Core and have performance benchmarks.
What is the overall Language Goal of the program?
Dual Immersion students will be able to speak, write, read and LEARN in the second language. Students will be learning content through the second language and each student will have performance benchmarks to ensure success. High School freshman will take the AP Language exam. A score of 3 or above will earn the freshman college credit! During the sophomore through senior years, students may take college level language courses.
If it doesn’t work for my family, can I drop out?
Of course! This program is completely voluntary and will only take place at part of the school. There will be other English only classes at the school so a student can simply transfer classes.
How am I supposed to help my child if I don’t know the language?
This is a common fear among families. We all want to be there for our children! The teaching and administrative staff will ensure that any additional help in the foreign language is provided at the school. The parents/guardian can assist a student by helping them in the subject matter, in English, at home. This is one of the critical ways this program succeeds. For example, if a student can do a math problem in Spanish and then gets it reinforced in English, that student has truly mastered the math material.
How much will this cost the district?
For each new class, there is a $10,000 set up fee. This fee will purchase materials for the classroom and books for the library. NCSD#1 can piggyback with Utah’s program for hiring, staff training, and collaboration with personnel and curriculum guidelines. Thus, implementing the program is extremely low cost compared to doing it by ourselves.
How will dual immersion work within Natrona County’s “School of Choice“ program?
Great question! We don’t know yet. We will be talking to the district as soon as we feel that enough of the community is behind the idea. They want what is best for children as do we. We think this will be a win-win for both parties!
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