Dual Language Educational Program
Evergreen Elementary School has implemented a dual language educational program with the vision of producing students who are:
ü Bilingual in English and Spanish
ü Bi-Literate in Spanish and English
ü Achieving at or above grade level academically in both languages.
ü Understanding and respectful of our multi-cultural society.
Content Area Instruction
Math will be taught in English in grades K-5. Science will be taught in Spanish in grades K-5. Social studies will be taught in Spanish in grades K-5. Students will be heterogeneously grouped by language and ability for content area instruction. Students are allowed to use the language of their choice in grades kindergarten and first grade. Students are strongly encouraged to use the language of instruction in grade 2 – 5.
Grade level collaboration for the purpose of continuity of program implementation, instruction, curriculum, and other common expectations and procedures is required of all team members.
While we know that the ideal ratio of English dominant students to Spanish dominant students is 50/50, we acknowledge that the ideal will frequently not be reached. We also know that if the ratio exceeds two English dominant students to one Spanish dominant the quality of the program can be negatively affected. If this situation were to arise at any grade level, we will examine our program model at that grade level and make adjustments as needed. As the ratio becomes less close to 50/50 and approaches 70/30 some accommodation must be considered.
Grade Level Configuration
When there are three classrooms at a particular grade level, two teachers will team and the third will teach a self-contained class. When there are four classrooms at a particular grade level, teachers will be paired as teaching teams. Collaboration between teaching teams or between a teaching team and the stand alone class is extremely important to assure that all students at the grade level are receiving comparable educational experiences.
A school-wide master schedule has been developed and must be adhered to unless exempted by the Dual Language Committee. A time is set aside during the day for intervention and extension. This is a time for special services to provide targeted intervention to qualified students. The goal is to consolidate services in a more efficient manner and to limit the number of interruptions to the classrooms. This time is to have a clear academic focus, be equally balanced between English and Spanish, and be an extension of PRIOR learning, not new instruction. Some examples of possible activities during this time are listed below:
Cooperative group work
Math problem solving
Write a story using vocabulary from material being studied
Make small book with facts about topic being studied
Silent sustained reading
Timed tests - math project time
Vocabulary enrichment activities
Journal writing - not to a prompt
Introduction of Formal Second Language Instruction
Formal language arts instruction in the students’ second language will be introduced at the beginning of second grade.
Language Balance in Instruction
The Evergreen Dual Language Program is a 50/50 model. Research strongly suggests that a 50/50 ratio of Spanish instruction to English instruction is the minimum we can use and still expect our students to become bilingual. It is of the utmost importance that we do all in our power to assure an equal balance of language exposure in Spanish and English. The program is reviewed on a regular basis to assure that the 50/50 ratio is maintained in grades 2 through 5. Because of our focus on first language development in kindergarten and first grade, we focus more on the second language proficiency attainment rather than percentages of English/Spanish instructional mix.
The program will be formally evaluated each year to determine the effectiveness of the current implementation model and recommend improvements. The acquisition of a program coordinator with the specific duty of ongoing supervision of the implementation of the program model is essential.
Literature both in the classroom and centrally located in the library will be equitable in both Spanish and English.
School-wide events will reflect respect for both languages.
It is our belief that total separation of languages in the instructional setting is essential for language acquisition. The creation of mini-immersion settings in the classrooms is our goal. Therefore, in classrooms where the language of instruction is Spanish there is to be no written or oral English. Likewise, in classrooms where the language of instruction is English there will be no written or oral Spanish. An exception to this is student responses when appropriate.
Language of the Day
Language of the day has an important function in our school and is not something that is optional. The goal of language of the day is to create an environment of respect/value for both English and Spanish, to provide additional exposure to Spanish in particular in an informal setting, and for staff to model life long learning and risk taking. Guidelines for implementation of language of the day include: (1) language of the day is not optional. It is expected that every staff member will put forth the effort to participate in language of the day, (2) daily announcements would be everyday in the language of the day, (3) the language of the day will be Spanish on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and English on Tuesday and Thursday, (4) Language of the day will be used in every setting in which students are present. In adult only areas such as the staff room staff members are free to use their language of choice.
While bilingualism is encouraged for all staff members it is not expected. The committee will create a list of 10 – 15 phrases/commands/greetings that are commonly used in common areas around the building (i.e. hallways, lunchroom, and playground). It will be the expectation that these phrases are used in the language of the day.
A fundamental belief on which the Dual Language Program is based is that to develop language a student must use language as much as possible, in a variety of ways and in a variety of settings. Therefore, lessons in all content areas must integrate the four literacy skills: listening, speaking, reading, & writing.
Teachers use a variety of language acquisition instructional strategies.
Teachers are trained in and use instructional strategies to differentiate instruction to account for the range of abilities in a classroom.
Lessons are challenging and go beyond comprehension (Blooms’ Taxonomy)
Children are provided authentic opportunities to read and write.
During instruction there is a total separation of language use. There is no translation in the classroom by the teacher.
Group and individual accountability are used for assessment
Children’s work prominently displayed in both languages in the hallways and commons area.
A list of assigned bilingual pairs/partners is prominently posted.
Bulletin boards in the classrooms correspond to the language of instruction in content-area.
Teachers in grades K-5 provide vocabulary activities.