U-46 to host informational sessions for Dual Language Program this spring
Elgin Area School District U-46 is inviting all families of incoming kindergarten students and first-graders to Dual Language informational meetings hosted at local schools and libraries during March and April.
Dual Language is a form of bilingual education in which students are taught literacy and grade-level academic content in two languages.
The informational sessions will cover details of the U-46 program itself, the application process, and research showing the benefits of bilingualism.
"We strongly encourage kindergarten and first grade families to attend one of these sessions," said Dr. Annette Acevedo, director of the English Language Learners Program. "The Dual Language Program is an excellent opportunity for students to become bilingual and biliterate in a world where those skills are increasingly valuable."
U-46 offers "one-way instruction" for students with a home language background of Spanish who qualify for the English Language Learners services program.
Kindergarten and first-grade students without a home background of Spanish or who are English dominant may enroll in "two-way instruction" to learn Spanish and develop bilingual skills along with English Learners.
U-46 uses an "80:20" program in which the youngest students start out with 80 percent of their instruction in Spanish and 20 percent in English, reducing the Spanish-language portion by 10 percent per year from kindergarten through third grade, until the split is 50-50, where it remains through sixth grade.
In middle school, Dual Language students continue to be focused on developing academic and language skills of high rigor in both languages. The courses were expanded through the sophomore level at all five of the district's comprehensive high schools for this current school year. The courses will be implemented for juniors for the 2020-21 school year, with plans to make the program available through the senior level for the 2021-2022 school year.
The session schedule for parents of incoming kindergarten students and English-dominant first graders is as follows below. Parents can attend the session that works best for their schedule, it does not need to be their neighborhood school:
• Wednesday, March 4: Bartlett Elementary from 6 to 7 p.m. and Illinois Park Center for Early Learning from 5 to 6 p.m.
• Thursday, March 5: Huff Elementary from 6 to 7 p.m. and Otter Creek Elementary from 6 to 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, March 10: Heritage Elementary from 6 to 7 p.m.; Highland Elementary from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; and Independence Center for Early Learning from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, March 11: Gail Borden Public Library from 6 to 7 p.m.
• Thursday, March 12: Glenbrook Elementary from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Lords Park Elementary from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Tuesday, March 17: Channing Elementary from 6 to 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, March 18: Lincoln Elementary from 6 to 7 p.m.
• Thursday, March 19: Hillcrest Elementary from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
• Thursday, April 2: Gail Borden Public Library from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, April 8: Timber Trails Elementary from 6 to 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, April 8: U-46 Educational Services Center from 6 to 7 p.m.
• Thursday, April 16: South Elgin Branch Library from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.