FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When is the next Informational Family Night?
Thursday, February 11, 2021 4:30pm for Spanish and 5:30pm for English.
Webinar Link: https://everettsd.zoom.us/j/91939960908
How does this program differ from other Everett Schools?
Students in the Spanish Immersion Program are taught the standard Everett Public Schools curriculum, but receive instruction in Spanish. They learn to understand, speak, read and write Spanish in addition to English. Classroom teachers have native or near-native ability in the Spanish language and are chosen for their skills and their commitment to the goals of the program. By 5th grade, students from Emerson Elementary will test at average or above grade level in core academic areas.
At the elementary level (K-5), students receive the majority of their instruction in Spanish. Teachers speak Spanish to the students, while making sure they understand instructions and receive answers to their questions. English reading and language arts are introduced in mid-second grade.
Why should I consider enrolling my child in a dual language program?
Dual language programs are the most effective type of foreign language programs currently available in U. S. schools. Most students participating in a dual language program will reach higher levels of second language proficiency than students in other school-based language programs (Met, 1998). Becoming bilingual provides cognitive benefits as well as the opportunity to compete for jobs that require a second language. Numerous studies consistently show that immersion students achieve as well as or better than non-immersion peers on standardized measures of verbal and mathematics skills administered in English (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2000; Genesee, 1987). In addition, students have the opportunity to develop positive cross- cultural attitudes and behavior.
How will learning everything in a second language affect my child’s English language and literacy development?
Research consistently finds that participation in a dual language program actually enhances English language development (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2000). In a dual language program, students’ English development may lag temporarily in reading, word knowledge, and spelling while instruction is occurring in two languages. However, after a year or two of instruction in English language arts, this discrepancy disappears (Genesee, 1987). It is important for parents to understand that this lag is temporary and to be expected.
Will my child become proficient in the second language? How long will that take?
Generally, it takes students 4-10 years to achieve cognitive academic language proficiency in a second language. Students at this stage will be near-native in their ability to perform in content area learning. The time it takes to learn a language is influenced by many factors including students’ personality and motivation, teacher expectations, parental support, program leadership, and support at both the school and district level. Student success requires the active involvement of all of these stakeholders. Achieving high levels of oral and written proficiency in a second language is a long-term process. A long-term commitment is essential, and parents need to understand that native-like proficiency in every skill area is unlikely. Still, dual language students will have a strong second language base upon which to continue moving toward full proficiency and to develop proficiency in additional languages.
What can I do to support my child’s immersion experience if I do not speak the second language?
Parents should be knowledgeable about dual language education, make a commitment to keep their child in the program, and support their children’s use of the target language outside school. One way to support the use of the target language outside of school is by providing reading materials, games, and language enrichment activities at home in the target language. Parents need to provide opportunities to enhance their child’s native language and literacy development. Reading to their child at night in the native language is one example. Research shows that the stronger the development of the native language, the greater the proficiency in the target (Spanish) language. Therefore, children who enter a dual language program with a strong base in their native language will succeed more easily than those whose native language skills are not as strong.
How are the students chosen?
Emerson service area families and siblings of current students are given priority. Remaining available spaces are filled by district area students. If there are still available spaces, students living outside the district will be considered. Contact the Emerson school office to enroll, 425.385.6200.
What if no one at home speaks Spanish?
Report cards, notices and newsletters are issued in English. However, children whose parents obtain at least a basic knowledge of the language may have an advantage. Spanish homework assignments are not translated into English and it is not expected that parents will assist in Spanish homework activities.
Why choose the Dual Language Spanish Immersion Program for my child?
Studies have found that learning a second language at an early age has many benefits:
- There is a positive effect on brain development and intellectual growth.
- Students gain flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
- It opens the door to other cultures and helps children understand and appreciate people from other countries.
- Students acquire Spanish language fluency.
- Dual Language Immersion produces successful learners who perform well on tests (i.e. SBA).
- Students have increased job opportunities in many careers where knowledge of another language is an asset.
How will Spanish Immersion affect my child’s English skills?
- English language instruction begins in third grade. At that point, many students are behind their English-only peers in English reading and writing ability. However, by 4th grade their English skills are equal to or better than their peers.
- Studies show that Spanish Immersion students perform in English language arts, math and other areas as well as and often better than their monolingual peers on standardized achievement tests administered in English.
Will the students have the second language skills that they need to learn new academic material?
Yes! Teachers use specific strategies and resources to ensure student understanding.
What should parents think about when considering this program?
The best decision can be made by thoroughly exploring all aspects of the program and speaking with parents and students to learn about the benefits of language immersion.
Enrolling a child in this program should be viewed as a commitment at least through grade 5. The goals of the program are best met when students stay with language immersion until they graduate from high school. It is not in the best interest of students or the program for students to be enrolled for only a one or two year “experience”.
When do I enroll my child?
Enrollment begins in February for the following fall’s kindergarten class. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces available, a lottery is conducted to determine admission. Students whose applications are not drawn during the lottery process will be placed on a waiting list and contacted by the school if space becomes available. Click the Enrollment button on the homepage to start the enrollment process.
Can I enroll my child after kindergarten?
Most students enter the program in kindergarten. If openings occur during Grades 1 through 5, students may test into those grades. Entry is by test-in/evaluation only. Students must be at grade level in all areas and will take a written and oral test in Spanish.
Is transportation available?
Students in the Emerson attendance area will ride the regular school bus. Studetns outside the Emerson service area may be eligible for transportation. Students residing outside district boundaries will need to provide their own transportation.
Who do I contact for more information?
Please call us at: 425 385 6200