Dual Language Program FAQs
What are the expectations of the English-Spanish Dual Language program?
The goals of the dual language program are that after eight years of instruction students will be able to:
- Develop proficiency in Spanish and English
- Learn to communicate effectively through reading and writing in two languages at a level appropriate for their age level
- Achieve grade-level academic performance in Spanish and English
- Develop and nurture understanding of different cultures
- Continue to develop their bilingual proficiencies at the high school level
Do all schools in District 47 offer dual language?
For the 2018-2019 school year, District 47 will offer dual language programs for students at the following schools: Coventry, Canterbury, North, Hannah Beardsley Middle School, and Lundahl Middle School. Final classroom sections will be decided pending interest and enrollment.
What are the criteria for admission into the program?
Any student entering Kindergarten can be considered for the full-day dual language program. (Note: The program will only be offered in a full-day Kindergarten setting.) Due to the immersion nature of Spanish language instruction in the dual language program, native English-speaking students will only be admitted to the program at the Kindergarten level. The District hosts an informational meeting about dual language for incoming Kindergarten families in January of each school year. Since the program fills up fast, parents interested in the program are encouraged to register their child as soon as possible (in February) and indicate their interest in the program by filling out a form at registration.
If a student is coming from a dual language program in another district, he or she will be assessed to determine if D47's dual language program is the best placement. If so, the student will be placed in the program if space allows.
Will my child progress through the regular curriculum for his or her grade?
Yes. Dual language classes follow the District 47 adopted curriculum. All teachers teach to the new Illinois learning standards as well as the Spanish language arts standards through biliteracy units of study. While the teaching looks different in a dual language classroom, all students are taught appropriate grade-level standards. Through a variety of instructional strategies, students learn the academic content while developing proficiency in both languages. Besides core academics, dual language classes emphasize cultural awareness and diversity.
Will my child fall behind in basic skills such as reading, writing and math because of learning a second language?
No. National studies show that students in dual language programs perform as well or better than their peers on achievement tests in math, reading and writing.
Will my child learn to read and write in English or Spanish first?
District 47's dual language program has adopted a biliteracy approach to reading and writing. This means that all students learn to read and write in both English and Spanish starting in Kindergarten.
What are the benefits for my child in the Dual Language program?
There are many reasons families choose to participate in the dual language program: multicultural appreciation, benefit of learning a second language at an early age, career opportunities, and ability to develop social skills for life in a multicultural world. In addition, research has shown that students who remain in the dual language program develop greater critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Native English-speaking children will develop Spanish as a second language at an early age while continuing to grow in English. For the native Spanish-speaking child, the dual language class helps develop English as a second language while continuing to enrich and develop their native literacy. All children will learn academic skills while developing bilingual proficiency.
What if I change my mind after my child is in the program?
Parents are key to the success of any program. Upon registering a child for dual language, families are asked to commit their child to the program through eighth grade. Because bilingual proficiency is a long-term commitment and space available for English-speaking students is limited, parents are asked to carefully consider whether enrolling their child in the program is right for them.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
For more information on the dual language program, contact Kari Keith, Director of Dual Language and English Learner programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815.788.5035.