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Carthage Bilingual Classrooms Successful;Program Expanding - KOAM TV 7

Carthage Bilingual Classrooms Successful;Program Expanding

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CARTHAGE, MISSOURI -

The Carthage School district continues to grow its bilingual learning opportunities for elementary students.


     A program piloted last year with kindergarten and first grades at Fairview elementary now includes 2nd graders.

Spanish is spoken and taught  in Carthage classrooms for kindergarten, first, and second grade students at Fairview elementary.
Students spend half the day in an all Spanish classroom.
And half the day in an all English classroom. Teachers collaborate and use bridging activities to ensure important vocabulary is covered in both languages. But actual story books and lessons are never the same.

The English Language Learning Coordinator Jana Sawyer said,
Because in immersion, you dont want to do a translation. Because we dont want the kids to be, Oh, Ill just wait and get that in my other language. They have different literacy skills. We want them to develop literacy in both languages. So, they're receiving literacy instruction in both languages."

History and science are taught in English, while math is taught in Spanish.
 "Uno, dos, tres, quarto, cinco, ses, siete, ocho, nueve, dias," said Kindergarten student Jovie Hallmark with a smile. She likes counting and says she takes what she has learned back home.  "Because you get to learn it and tell it to our moms and dads," said Jovie.
Im teaching them cause then we play schools and play Spanish class, she added.

The coordinator says English proficiency has increased for Spanish speakers. As did Spanish proficiency for English speakers. And both have increased academic achievement.

Sawyer said, "Academically, I think it creates new pathways in the brain of the child and creates more creative thinking skills. The students are just able to be better problem solvers.

Even if that problem is not completely understanding your teacher.

Brecklyn Abbiatti said, I try to figure it out. Sometimes, I ask my bi language partner or another Spanish speaker and they tell me. And if they dont know, I try to figure out and it works."

The district has seen such success with the program it intends to add  a class grade each year next year 3rd grad. The challenge in the future will be finding qualified teachers

Assistant Superintendent of Instruct Kandy Frazier said, "We are currently  working with many universities in the area with their teacher education programs to see if we can work with them as a network. She says we know it will get tougher with more demand for dual language programs."

Frazier also said it will be tougher to find high school teachers who are certified in a specific subject who are also bilingual.

But another goal achieved was greater intermingling of cultures.
Second grader Adalee Gober said she even speaks Spanish at recess.
"Because some kids they don't know English and I
m trying to teach them.  And they just know what Im saying and it feels good."

Sawyer said second graders tell her its even easier this year as they know more Spanish after being immersed last year.


    Many area schools have visited the unique program in Carthage one of the only ones in Missouri. Administrators will be sharing how it works at a federal conference on Monday. And again next Friday at a state school board conference at Tan-Tar-A.
 

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