Q: Will learning two languages confuse a child or slow academic progress?
A: Research has shown that young children have the capacity to learn multiple languages and have demonstrated stronger cognitive abilities as a result (Hakuta,1990). According to a study by Peal and Lambert, "bilinguals have greater mental flexibility, greater abstract thinking, greater lexical independence, superior concept formulation and higher verbal IQ than monolinguals."
Q: Why is it better for a child to learn language at the elementary level?
A: Research has found that it takes five to seven years to become proficient in a second language. Children tend to develop a more native-like pronunciation when language learning begins before adolescence (Krashen, et al, 1982). Children studying a foreign language have an improved self-concept and sense of achievement in school (Caine & Caine, 1997).
Q: Will students in the immersion classroom learn the same things in the general education classroom?
A: The Dual Language Immersion program bases the curriculum on the California Common Core Standards. Global education and world languages go hand in hand with the Common Core curriculum in grades K through 12 as we endeavor to prepare students to become global citizens (Heining-Boynton & Redmond, 2013).
Q: Are students exposed to only 50% of the curriculum?
A: A common misconception about the Dual Immersion program is that the student receives only 50% of the curriculum because English is taught for 50% of the day. Students in the Dual Language Immersion program receive 100% of the grade level core curriculum. One of the major differences in this type of specialized program is how the curriculum is delivered. In the Westminster School District, 50% of the curriculum is delivered in English and 50% is delivered in Spanish.
Q: Is there a cost to the program?
A: The Dual Immersion program is part of a public school district. Therefore, there is no cost to the public.
Q: How do I enroll my student?
A: Outside Westminster School District
Request an Inter District Transfer from your district of residence. Once the form is approved, bring the approved form to the Westminster School District Office. Complete and return the Kindergarten packet, original birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of residency (utility bill) to Willmore Elementary School.
Within the Willmore Elementary School Attendance Area
Complete and return the Kindergarten registration packet, original birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of residency (utility bill) to Willmore Elementary School.
Within Westminster School District Attendance Area
Residents of Westminster School District outside of Willmore Elementary's attendance boundaries would follow the WSD registration process of Open Enrollment during the school year. Open enrollment requests shall be initiated by the parent/guardian during the open enrollment window period of the school year prior to the desired year of attendance. Parent shall request an Open Enrollment form from their school of residence by meeting with the principal and obtaining a releasing signature. Once an open enrollment has been approved for a student, the requested school is considered the student’s home school. The District does not provide transportation for students on open enrollment.
Q: How are parents involved?
A: Parents attend a mandatory information meeting. Parents understand and support the program goals. Parents agree to a K-5 commitment to the Dual Language Immersion Program. Parents agree to participate in school meetings and activities. Parents are expected to be active participants in their child's education.
Q: What are the program's goals?
A: Native English speakers and Spanish speakers who complete the Dual Language Immersion Program from Kindergarten through fifth grade are expected to possess strong reading and writing skills in Spanish and English. Students are expected to have strong academic proficiency in the core academic content area. The strength of this proficiency should allow students to enter advanced levels of Spanish and English language classes at the middle school and high school level, demonstrate positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors, and high levels of self-esteem. Dual Language Immersion students will earn the Pathways to Biliteracy Awards at Kindergarten, third, fifth and eighth grades. They will go on to high school to pass the Advanced Placement test, and earn their State Seal of Biliteracy on their diploma.