Spring Lake Park provided the first Spanish immersion class this past year with about 78 students attending. This class will now move to the middle school in the fall.
The goal of the class is to help students maintain their language skills after they leave Woodcrest Elementary, which as a Spanish immersion program. Continually expensing students to the language helps them to improve and practice.
The task force in charge of the program met during the 2014-2015 school year to look at the research, which supports adding the program to the middle school level. They looked at other immersion programs across the metro area and have decided adding this program is a very important part of the education of middle school students.
Four scheduling options were presented with some more feasible than others. One option would allow students to take a science and a language arts class, both taught in Spanish. Another option provides a social studies and an advanced Spanish option, while the third option provided both language arts and social studies. The final option allows the students to choose a class to take in Spanish, along with the language arts class.
The task force understands that students need to take two classes per day in Spanish to really learn and retain the language. Out of the four options, the fourth one is the least realistic because there isn't enough money in the budget to add enough Spanish-speaking teachers for each course.
The major challenge moving forward will be finding fluent teachers for areas, such as science. The most likely options are option two and three, which are quite similar. The goal will be to have all sixth-graders take two language arts courses, while immersion students will take one in Spanish.
The details are still being worked out, but the program will allow students from Woodcrest to continue to study the language.