The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

SCUSD’s Dual Language Immersion Program Starts Second Year

With children back in school for the start of the 2021 school year, one of the Santa Clara Unified School District’s (SCUSD’s) newest programs finally has the opportunity to thrive. In fall of 2020, Scott Lane Elementary School launched a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program, but the transition happened virtually, making interaction between the students and the teachers difficult.

“The biggest challenge with distance learning [is that] it’s really hard for those kids to be language models for one another because they’re at home,” said Scott Lane Principal Jeff Keller. “I think we lost families because of that experience.”

DLI relies on interaction between the students to help both Spanish and English speakers adapt to each other’s languages. Principal Keller says in an in-person environment, it’s a much better curriculum for students than the school’s previous bilingual program.

SPONSORED
global village school

“The goal of the bilingual program is basically is to use the student’s native language, Spanish, to teach them in Spanish and then transition to English. The goal is to use their native language to acquire English and drop their native language,” said Keller. “The goal of dual language immersion — which is amazing — is that kids will become completely bilingual, biliterate in English and Spanish.”

Each class in the DLI program is made up of one-third native Spanish speakers, one-third Spanish/English speakers and one-third native English speakers. Kindergarten classes are taught in 90 percent Spanish, 10 percent English. That ratio of Spanish to English adjusts as kids get older until they reach a 50/50 ratio in grades four and five.

DLI Kindergarten teacher Beatriz Magana previously worked within Scott Lane’s bilingual program. She says this new system makes a huge difference for all of the students.

“It totally helps. I mean now we have models for both languages. For the Spanish speakers we have the English-speaking students who help us through ELD [English Language Development] and then vice versa throughout the day. We have the Spanish speakers that model for the EO [English Only] students,” said Magana.

Adelina Contreraz, a TOSA specialist who offers support to the students in the DLI program, agrees that the change from bilingual to DLI was a good one.

“It was a change, but it was all positive for all of us, because we went from learning how to do a new program, and to be able to bring in resources that are going to be able to be implemented in this new program for dual language,” said Contreraz.

Students in the program appear to be thriving.

“She’s loving it,” said Shannon Allen, whose daughter is in Magana’s kindergarten class as a native English speaker. “It’s crazy. She’s coming home and teaching us; she’s speaking in complete sentences now…She comes home and teaches mommy and daddy and her little brother and sister the Spanish words that she’s learning.”

Scott Lane has one DLI kindergarten class, two DLI first grade classes and one DLI second grade class. Eventually, the school hopes to have two DLI classes at every grade level.

Marivel Joffre who teaches a first grade DLI class says an added benefit of the DLI program is a more inclusive community.

“We have a few students from other schools and not just English only speaking families, but some of the Spanish speaking families don’t belong to Scott Lane. So, we really try to incorporate a community of Santa Clara, not just Scott Lane,” said Joffre. “That’s the goal is to instill that in them. It’s not just a Scott Lane family.”

Scott Lane’s DLI program is open to all students entering kindergarten in the 2022 -2023 school year. Interested parents can contact the school’s principal Jeff Keller at jkeller@scusd.net when enrollment opens in January 2022.

SPONSORED

6 Comments
  1. Parent 2 weeks ago
    Reply

    Wow, what a racist comment! The goal of a Dual Language Immersion program is to produce children who are proficient in BOTH LANGUAGES not sacrifice one language at the expense of the other. Perhaps Mr. Keller should reach out to the districts around him (San Jose Unified, Campbell Union) to observe what real immersion programs look like.

    • Reader 1 week ago
      Reply

      said Keller. “The goal of dual language immersion — which is amazing — is that kids will become completely bilingual, biliterate in English and Spanish.”
      Please can explain what makes this comment racist?

  2. Duh 1 week ago
    Reply

    “…and drop their native language,” said Keller.

  3. Reader 1 week ago
    Reply

    Duh, read it carefully that was a reference to the goal of bilingual programs, not dual immersion.

    • You proved their point 1 week ago
      Reply

      goal….drop their language….Clueless

      • Reader 6 days ago
        Reply

        What is stated is that the goal of a Dual Language Immersion program (the one they are introducing at Scott Lane) is to become bilingual and bi-literate. Which means you can read and write in the two languages. “which is amazing,”
        As opposed to a Bilingual Program which is being phased out and whose goal is “basically is to use the student’s native language, Spanish, to teach them in Spanish and then transition to English. The goal is to use their native language to acquire English and drop their native language,”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

SPONSORED

You may like