Twenty-four kindergarten students begin their school day at Monterey Hills Elementary School like others on campus – reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the days of the week.
Yet, what sounds different, is the tiny group of 5-year-olds are speaking Spanish as part of a new a dual language immersion class taught by Maestra Sandra Salas.
The program follows a 90/10 model in which 90% of the school day is taught in Spanish and 10% in English.
“Words don’t escape me when I am asked to describe our new program: increible, fabuloso y magnifico!” said Dr. Laurie Narro, Principal of Monterey Hills Elementary School. “We are so excited about the implementation of DI (dual immersion), as the three essential components necessary for an excellent program are in place: the right teacher, the right instructional strategies, and the right curriculum. Salas has many years of experience and utilizes appropriate strategies that are building the fundamentals of language and mathematics in Spanish for our students, and has created a classroom community that supports the acquisition of a second language.
The teacher is using songs and chants, and provides routines and structures to develop the students’ language. She also incorporates strong, Common Core aligned instructional materials in language and mathematics. Everyone who has come to visit leaves smiling and exclaims, ‘Wow! The students are so engaged!’”
On September 17, the district’s Dual Immersion Advisory Committee met to bring forth a school site recommendation to house the Mandarin Chinese Dual Immersion Kindergarten class for the 2016-2017 school year. The committee, comprised of community members, elementary teachers, elementary site administrators, and a district administrator, agreed that the composition of existing school site staff is important to support any dual immersion program.
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