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Old 05-29-2010, 07:00 PM   #1
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Dual-Immersion program?

I recently found out that our school district is closing an elementary school and moving their dual-immersion program to our elementary school. This fall I will have a 3rd grader, a 1st grader and a Kindergartener. They do a 90/10 program for the K & 1st, but the 3rd will have a 70/30 program. I live in Northern CA so learning Spanish will definatly be a benefit to my children, but I'm worried about my 3rd grader and young Kindergartener who is having a hard time in his own native language having to learn both. My youngest is starting Kindy at a 4 turning 5yr old. I was comfortable with him going to Kindy early because we have been happy with our school in the past (our now 13yr olds started there as well) but now I'm curious if this will be ideal. I read that children from dual-immersion programs are scoring higher and learning better than their single-language counterparts.
Anyone have anything positive or negative to say about their dual-immersion experiences? Thanks!

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Old 05-29-2010, 07:27 PM   #2
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Re: Dual-Immersion program?

A dual-immersion program is the reason I homeschooled this past year. It was SO bad. The school district made it sound so good that all students will graduate fluent in English and Spanish. I'm bilingual, so I thought that was great. Here's the wrinkle. My daughter has a learning disability, and has a hard enough time learning in English, let alone receiving her daily lessons in Spanish, which she only somewhat understands. Here's the other wrinkle. Most of the teachers here couldn't speak correct English if the fate of the free world depended on it. Every letter sent home was full of grammar and spelling errors, and half the time, when I went in for parent/teacher conferences, I had to speak Spanish to the teacher just to get her to understand what I was saying. Their entire Kindergarten graduation program was in Spanish, which totally pissed my husband off because he does not speak Spanish at all (he's trying to learn, but it's his third language, and he's having a hard time). The immersion program turned out to be just a Spanish school. Of course, we can all but spit in the Rio Grande from our rooftop, so I guess we kind of have to expect this sort of thing.

I really think this type of program would be very good for any kid who learns well in general. I would probably love it for my son in four years when he starts school. I do not, however, love it for my daughter and her learning disability. She can learn as well as any other child with a few simple accommodations, one of which is that her teacher SPEAK ENGLISH! That wasn't happening in the public school we're zoned for, though. That's why we're trying the charter school route next year. Everyone at the school we applied to speaks good English, so it's hopeful.
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Old 05-29-2010, 07:55 PM   #3
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Re: Dual-Immersion program?

See that is exactly what worries me. And I don't even know Spanish. What about homework?? I'm really torn because I want my kids to go to this school but I'm worried about this program mainly accomidating the vast number of children who's parents speak Spanish only. Those kids lack the connection with their parents and the school many times, their kids struggle. I'm really worried my 4yr old isn't going to get the same class my older kids got and really excelled in. I know the teacher and she knows some Spanish, but I can't imagine her speaking in 90% Spanish!
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Old 05-29-2010, 08:44 PM   #4
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Re: Dual-Immersion program?

Of course, it depends on your school and the teachers, but my son is in a dual-language program and for him, and us, it's fantastic. It's been great for him in terms of keeping him interested and occupied (last year, in K, he was bored to death; this year he's doign great). They do Spanish 3 days a week and English 2. They are also on top of testing kids in terms of their progress, reading comprehension,etc. with our school, I feel very confident that it is aimed at helping both English- and Spanish-as-a-first-language kids do well in school. Again, your school might be different, but I would definitely talk to them and see what they say to address your concerns. If you are not satisfied with their answers, then you need to explore different options. You need to do what's best for your children...and if they have learning disabilities, then you need to advocate for them, of course. In our situation it was a saving grace to have our son in the DL program. They already want to move him up a grade; I can't imagine what it would've been like for him to have to struggle through another year of being so bored. At least learnign in Spanish kept his interest. so there's that aspect to consider. Good luck, mama!
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Old 05-30-2010, 03:43 PM   #5
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Re: Dual-Immersion program?

Thanks for your input! I talked with dh about it last night and he says we should at least give it a try. I'm thinking there is no way they could do 90% of the cirrculum in Spanish as non-Spanish speaking. Maybe 90% of their language lesson, normally reading, writing, letters, etc. and not 90% of the entire day in general. KWIM?
I'm hoping for some more input... thanks mamas!
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