In the past decade, research has shown that learning a second language at a young age increases cognitive flexibility and translates into higher achievement across subject areas for students. Students who participate in dual immersion programs demonstrate grade level academic ability, well-developed language and literacy skills in two languages and cross-cultural competence. Recognizing these studies and community interest in programs that teach children to read, write and speak a second language, South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) developed a dual language immersion program five years ago aligned to its strategic plan.
For parents interested in learning more about the program, SPUSD is hosting a Dual Immersion Parent Information Meeting on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in the District office boardroom at 1020 El Centro Street.
“The SPUSD dual language immersion program offers students a unique opportunity to become bilingual and biliterate at a young age,” said Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Christiane Gervais. “The program gives elementary-aged students the opportunity to study Spanish or Mandarin within a traditional elementary school setting.”
Designed for children and parents who desire a proficiency in a language other than English, the classes expand world language experiences for young learners. The Mandarin dual immersion program is designed for English learners and English speaking students and follows a 50/50 instructional model in kindergarten through grade five, which means that approximately 50% of the class is taught in the target language and 50% is taught in English. This model helps students excel in both an alphabet based language (English) and a language rooted in a logographic system (Mandarin), where symbols represent words.
The Spanish classes start with a 90/10 instructional model, which means that in kindergarten approximately 90% of the class will be taught in Spanish and 10% will be taught in English. As students move up grades, the ratio of Spanish to English decreases. The Spanish language uses a similar alphabetic system to English so there is a more immediate transfer of information between languages.
In both Mandarin and Spanish dual immersion programs, English and target-language dominant students are purposefully intermixed to meet various goals including developing bilingual skills, meeting or exceeding state standards, and fostering an appreciation of world languages and cultures.
For additional program information including enrollment procedures for the Spanish dual immersion program at Monterey Hills Elementary and the Mandarin dual immersion program at Marengo Elementary, visit http://bit.ly/SPUSDDualLanguage and attend the parent meeting on January 21, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. Translation in Spanish and Mandarin will be provided.