Voices of Optimism: Dual Language Support and Advocacy

by multilingualmania on December 1, 2009

in Bilingual Education

The following comment was left today on the “Critical Components of Effective Bilingual Programs” post today and it makes me feel so happy. I’m floating around on a cloud today after having gone to a Seal of Biliteracy workshop with a group of parents and this just added to my happiness. Parents have so much power to advocate for Dual Immersion and bilingual programs, and both educators and even parents themselves underestimate the power that they have for institutionalizing and supporting bilingual programs. Here’s the comment that made me so happy tonight:

We are very fortunate here in NM that we do have people above us that understand how a dual language program should work. I was not in the initial stages of the program we have in Ruidoso, NM, but so far we have had great results. The kids who started in Kindergarten the first year are now in fifth grade. The standardized scores are also very good. We too had difficulty deciding how much time in each subject should be in the first language and how much in the second. We sat down this last school year and made our own guidelines. Our thoughts were that we should have something in place to show any new teachers, administration etc. what our dual lang. program should look like. Our bilingual director and administrators are all behind us, even if they don’t all understand the total process. We are lucky that our bilingual teachers have been so dedicated to the program that it is successful. The program has done so well that we have added another Kindergarten class due to the enrollment of our English speakers wanting to participate as well. Since we are looking for a well balanced program of English and Spanish speakers, we find that exciting. We are a small community and had two classes of dual language available through now 5th. Our original program was to go through 4th, with a commitment of the parents. They stood up and asked the district to continue this through at least the 5th grade. We were delighted that the district backed the program. They figure that at middle school, the kids can take Spanish as an elective if they choose. We have dreams of the students going into high school demanding higher levels of Spanish there. Our grand goal is that more of our Hispanic population graduate and we feel that with this dual lang. program now in place, that this will occur. Good luck to all of you in your struggles of maintaining great dual lang. programs.

I’m so exhausted from my exciting day about how to create a Seal of Biliteracy, which is a special seal that comes on students’ diplomas in order to recognize the assets that they possess in attaining high levels of proficiency in two languages. I’ll be blogging more about my experience later in the week about the process!

If you have a story to tell about your bilingual program, positive or negative, leave it here in the comments or email it to multilingualmania(at)yahoo(dot)com. We all want to hear your stories!!

P.S. Stay tuned for a giveaway that we will be having tomorrow!!

Related Posts:

Critical Components of Effective Bilingual Programs

A Parent’s Guide to the Critical Components of Effective Bilingual Programs

Seal of Biliteracy Awards

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