Why Two-Way Dual Immersion Education? Dual language programs are not new to the United States, but the interest in dual language education has increased dramatically in the last fifteen years (Howard and Christian 2002) because of its potential to close the academic achievement gap and to prepare students to become life-long learners and successful citizens in a linguistically diverse and global society. Two-way immersion education is a dynamic form of education that can help students develop high levels of academic achievement, bilingualism and biliteracy, and cross-cultural awareness. Evaluation studies of Spanish, French, and other language immersion programs in the United States and Canada show that immersion education can be highly effective for both majority and ethnic/racial minority students (Campbell, 1984; Genesse, 1985; Swain, 1984; Collier and Thomas, 1997). Students participating in Two-Way Language Immersion Programs usually demonstrate high levels of proficiency in the second language in addition to high academic achievement without any loss to the development of their English skills. Children who learn in two languages develop a “common underlying proficiency” which is transferable between languages. Knowledge learned through one language paves the way for knowledge acquisition in the second language. Students who learn content in one language are able to demonstrate content knowledge in the second language once they acquire the skills to express that knowledge (Cummins, 1987).1
Benefits of a Dual Language Immersion Program It empowers students to achieve the highest academic, social and linguistic skills to give them the edge now and for future academic and economic success. Students will be instructed in accordance to Utah State Core Curriculum standards for grade-level competencies in English and Spanish. Learning a second language stimulates the brain to develop higher level reasoning skills which transfer to complex critical thinking in math, science, and language arts. Children who are educated with a multicultural curriculum have stronger self-esteem and more tolerance for, and more interest in other cultures. Program Goals: 1. To develop language proficiency in English and Spanish for native English speakers and native Spanish speakers.
2. To ensure academic excellence as outlined in the State’s core curriculum by increasing scholastic achievement in two languages.
3. To cultivate an understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures.
4. To empower parents to become active participants in their children’s education