California Teachers Association

May / June 2016

Issue link: http://educator.cta.org/i/686175

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B E G I N N I N G I N K I N D E R G A R T E N , Ja'Patrick Smith was taught in Spanish most of the school day. At first it was confusing and difficult, because his family speaks English. Teachers used pictures and pantomimed so he could learn words and concepts. He felt frustrated and misunderstood, as though he had entered a strange new world. But now that he's in sixth grade, he can speak, read and write well in both languages. He also feels at home in both cultures. His baby sitter and her family, who come from Mexico and speak mostly Spanish, have become his second family, sharing cultural celebrations and family vacations with him. Ja'Patrick's ability to move comfortably between two languages and cultures is a benefit of the dual immersion (DI) program he attends at Victoria Magathan Elemen- tary School in Adelanto. When the program began seven years ago, most parents were skeptical. But times have changed. Now there's a waiting list, and the school has added another kindergarten class to meet demand. Dual immersion is rewriting the language of success By SHERRY POSNICK- GOODWIN Photos by SCOTT BUSCHMAN and CYNTHIA MENZEL Ruby Sandoval, with Cayleb Hunter and Larry Sarria, teaches Spanish in her fifth- and sixth- grade dual immersion class. Ja'Patrick Smith 24 cta.org

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