Southern Idaho's Innovative Program Teaches Students Two Languages
Students get dual immersion instruction in jerome
A growing number of Jerome School District students are preparing for a global economy through an innovative dual immersion program. This program currently teaches both Spanish and English to 200 students at Jefferson Elementary.
Dual immersion programs offer numerous benefits. Brain research shows that young children are especially receptive to learning languages at an early age. Additionally, acquiring a new language can take up to seven years.
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“Starting in the early grades gives our students an opportunity to develop early connections between two languages,” says Jefferson Elementary principal Angie Brulotte. “These students will be ready for academic and subject-based content classwork in either language by the time they are in middle school.”
Parents expressed interest in starting a program in 2014. After extensive research and trustee approval, two classes were formed in both kindergarten and first grade in 2016. An additional grade level is added annually.
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Each class includes native English speakers and native Spanish speakers. These students’ academic performance matches that of their grade level peers.
“There has been overwhelming support for this program by all groups,” Brulotte says. “What our students are learning is impressive to those who have been able to come and observe or attend our dual Immersion celebrations in the spring.”