Welcome back to school! ¡Bienvenido de Regreso a Escuela!

The Freeport School District has long seen the value of teaching children in two languages. Spanish and English are being taught in Freeport’s elementary schools as well as in the traditional foreign language programs offered at John W. Dodd and Freeport High School.

Freeport’s Dual Language Program began in 1993, as teams of teachers, one, Spanish speaking and one, English speaking, teach children in grades Pre- Kindergarten through grade 6 their regular subjects in two languages. Half of the children in the program speak English as a native language and the other half speak Spanish as a native language. Each student group is learning a second language while strengthening their first.

The program’s goal has been to create an educational environment in which all participating children will develop high levels of communicative skill in English and Spanish and to foster a greater understanding between two linguistic communities. The high ideals of educational excellence and equal access to innovative programming have been the standard in the Dual Language Program since its inception.

In an effort to make a good thing better, the district commissioned a full scale program review during the winter of 2010 by experts in language learning and teaching, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) in Washington, D.C.  The district was satisfied by the achievement all children were demonstrating in English but were convinced that native English speaking children could make greater gains in Spanish. CAL provided the district with recommendations to achieve this desired outcome.

The district adopted CAL’s recommendations and developed a five year plan to gradually increase the amount of time children will spend learning in both languages. During the 2010-11 school year, the district provided Dual Language program teachers with specialized training to achieve this goal and sent a clearer message about the program’s goals to parents.

With the exception of special subjects like art, music, library, computers and physical education that are always taught in English, the rest of the time, students in Kindergarten and grade one will learn half of their time in school in English and the other half in Spanish. Each year, this design for instruction will move up a grade. The teachers have even adopted a color code in their classrooms to assist the children. In Spanish learning environments, one should see a predominance of the color red. In English learning environments, one should see a predominance of the color blue. For more information, please contact Sue Greca, the Director of Second Language Programs at 867-5233 or by E-mail at sgreca@freeportschools.org.