We believe that languages are at the heart of what makes us human: expressing thoughts and ideas, making new friends, and learning about the world. Learning other languages not only helps us meet new people and explore new places; being multilingual improves attention, creativity, problem solving, self-control, and organization. Multilingual students are better prepared to succeed in a global economy, connect across cultures, and be the problem-solvers our communities need to meet their greatest civic, social, and economic potential. Our students acquire multilingual and multicultural competencies best when they begin learning in early childhood.
The school board mandates the expansion of world languages to elementary schools throughout the county. The Department of Instruction has created a plan to continue and complete the expansion of the immersion program by 2021. The initial school to pilot this program, Cale Elementary, has had great success in its FLES and immersion programs, with demand for spaces in the program outstripping supply, even as the school has doubled capacity in two years.
The graph above shows the rapid expansion of enrollment at Cale Elementary School since 2012. Full implementation will occur in 2017-2018. Additional schools have applied to receive planning funds to implement similar programs in 2016-2017. This expansion will have implications for both middle and high school language programs in the future. Challenges will include continuing to recruit and retain the highest quality multilingual teachers to implement the program. The nascent success of the elementary world languages program is poised to advance further the success of the county’s current secondary world languages program that has used a new curriculum to improve students’ language capacity and achieve higher scores on national metrics such as the STAMP and AP assessments.
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