¡Yo respiro... Yo bailo... Yo vivo... el español! Do you?
Q. What is a Spanish Language Immersion Program?
A. Students develop native-like fluency in reading, writing, speaking and listening in Spanish. They also learn to think in a second language, which is a very high-level skill. All classes are taught in Spanish except for English instruction, which begins in 2nd grade. In grades 2 through 5, students speak only Spanish both in and out of the classroom throughout the school day.
Q. Who may apply for acceptance?
A . Any family in Guilford County who wants their child to become bilingual and wants an exciting and rigorous academic challenge may apply. ESL services are not available at Jones, so prospective students must already know enough English to not require ESL. Only kindergartners and beginning 1st graders are accepted in the program.
Q. Will I be able to help my child with homework?
A. Definitely! Teachers make sure students understand and write down every assignment. If they need help at home, students can translate the assignment for parents. Other parents and students are a phone call away and always glad to help. Guilford County Schools has a Homework Hotline. For more information call 333-6888.
Q. What are the teachers' requirements?
A. Immersion teachers must have a North Carolina teaching license or its equivalency and have native or near-native Spanish fluency.
Q. How quickly do students become fluent?
A. By the end of kindergarten, students understand almost everything their teachers are saying and are beginning to read and write in Spanish. By the end of fifth grade, they can converse and communicate with native-speakers. They are proficient in reading and writing and can do grade-level academic work in Spanish.
Q. Will my child learn English, too?
A. Beginning in 2nd grade, students receive daily instruction by a certified English teacher. All second graders are screened for English proficiency at the beginning of the year and more than 95% of them are already reading on grade level in English.
Q. How do the students perform on state tests that are all given in English?
A. Our immersion students typically score as highly proficient on the State's end-of-grade tests.
Q. What about math, science and other subjects?
A. Immersion students follow the same curriculum that is taught in all other Guilford County schools. Spanish is the medium through which they are taught, not the object of instruction. Students also have full access to art, music, PE, classroom computers and an updated technology lab, as well as a media center stocked with Spanish language books at every reading level.
Q. Will my child be prepared for middle school and beyond?
A. Jones Immersion students often take high-level classes and make the honor roll in middle school. Students have the option of attending Aycock Middle School's Spanish Immersion program and then continuing in the International Baccalaureate Program at Grimsley High School. The high school International Baccalaureate Program has a rigorous second language component and may be of interest to immersion students.
Q. How do I register my child for Kindergarten in the Jones Spanish Immersion Program?
A. Families residing in the Guilford County School District with a child eligible for kindergarten in the fall of 2012 can apply for the magnet lottery beginning with the first magnet fair in January of 2012. Magnet packets will contain information about all kindergarten programs in the district. They are available at Jones or from the Franklin Boulevard office of Magnet Programs. Applications for the Spanish Immersion Program are available at the District Service offices, located at 712 North Eugene Street, in Greensboro, NC 27401 and from the English Street Office in High Point as well as on the district website at: http://www.gcsnc.com/magnet_schools/application_main.htm.
Q. How many openings are there for 2012-2013?
A. The Kindergarten Spanish Immersion Program has 96 slots available for 2012-2013. Last year, there were almost two applications for every available space, therefore, a waiting list was established. Students on this waiting list will be notified at the time an opening occurs. After the end of first grade, students are only admitted on a case-by-case basis. Contact the principal directly for more information.
A. The program is housed in the David D. Jones Elementary School, 502 South Street, Greensboro, NC 27406.
A. No, children do not need to have prior exposure to the Spanish language. This program is designed for children whose families do not speak Spanish.
A. The goal is for students to speak Spanish fluently. They will also have strong enough reading, writing, and listening skills to master the core academic subjects in Spanish.
A. A family commitment is essential for children to experience the great benefits an immersion education yields. Parents can support their child in these ways:
● Make a long-term commitment to immersion.
● Nearly forty years of research in Immersion education have shown that immersion students score significantly better on standardized tests than control groups of non-immersion students.
● Our brains are ever-changing. MRIs done on people who have strong second and third language skills shows that more parts of their brain are engaged in activities than the brains of monolinguals.
● Knowing how to speak a second language will make it easier to learn a third language, since the brain has learned how to learn another language. Students can use both languages to accelerate the language acquisition process and to make connections.
● Using language in a variety of subjects increases the students' flexibility with the language.
● Students in immersion education programs typically have a more well-rounded perspective of the world, and are better informed.
● Reading to negotiate meaning in a variety of contexts reinforces language skills.
● Students well-versed in a second culture are less likely to make mistakes or have cultural misunderstandings when traveling and working in a different country.
● People who can speak a second language well are better qualified for jobs than monolinguals because we live and work in an increasingly global market. Many companies will not even consider a potential employee for a job unless they are able to communicate with ease in at least two languages. Our students will face global competition from jobs. It is our responsibility to help prepare them for the future.
Q. Is Immersion the right choice for my child?
A. In answering this question, it is important to weigh the opportunities that you are offering your child through exposure to the Spanish language and its culture. Taking part in the Spanish Immersion program is a unique learning experience. It is important for parents to enter initial enrollment with the understanding that they are enrolling in a kindergarten-through-fith grade total immersion program with opportunities to continue partial immersion language instruction at Aycock Middle School. Students will then have the opportunity to apply to the International Baccalaureate Program at Grimsley High School, which contains a significant second language component. The success of immersion education is best validated by sustained continuity and intensive experience in the immersion language. For more information on the benefits of language immersion, please visit the following "learnnc" web site.
¡Ser bilingüe es chévere!