Thursday, February 2, 2012

Foto February #2: Dual Language Training

This is about as close to live blogging as I'll get... Today through Saturday (Feb. 2-4), Highline is hosting the Dual Language Training Institute. Dr. Leo Gomez is here for three days to share his expertise on dual language models. Normally, people fly to Texas to see this workshop, but Bernard Koontz took the initiative to bring him up and invite others. Today there were 80 people in the board room from Highline, five other Washington school districts, one Oregon district, and two local Catholic schools. (Outside schools paid for their own registration.)

Among the important research findings Dr. Gomez shared was that students in dual language immersion (instruction half in English and half in Spanish) end up performing higher in English over the long haul and have a better grasp of content as well. While it may seem that learning partly in another language will slow you down, over time students gain academic literacy in both languages, which leads to higher performance in English for native Spanish speakers, and biliteracy for both English and Spanish speakers. We currently have two dual language immersion programs in Highline, Hilltop (K-3) and Mount View (K-2). In my opinion, it's not a question of if we'll expand dual language, but where, when, and how much. After careful consideration and stakeholder input, we'll bring a proposal to the School Board in the coming months.

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