June 18, 2008

Randolph School Officials Hail Success of Spanish Immersion Program

By Allyson Bond, High Point Enterprise, N.C.

Jun. 18--TRINITY -- A new Spanish-only class has really taken off at Hopewell Elementary School.

On Monday, Principal Sharon Harper gave the Randolph County Board of Education a wrap-up on the first year of the school's Spanish language immersion program.

"We had an outstanding school year. In just 10 months of school (for) these students, their language retention has been remarkable," Harper said.

The Spanish immersion program is a curriculum-based program that teaches children traditional core subjects, but they're taught in Spanish. The program is designed for students who primarily speak English. No native Spanish-speaking pupils were in the class.

"Math was our real strength," she said.

The students were 100 percent proficient in math; 83 percent were reading at or above grade level, and 79 percent were proficient in writing, based on the Randolph County Literacy and Math Assessments that were administered all in Spanish.

Halfway through the school year, parents of incoming kindergartners were able to see the class at work. The students were able to add, subtract, learn new words as well as write and read in Spanish.

Harper remarked on parent participation in and out of the Hopewell Elementary attendance area.

Thirty-nine parents requested their children be placed in the program for the 2008-09 school year. Only 24 students can be allowed in the program at this time. Four more parents outside of the Hopewell district requested their children be placed in the program as well. Thirty-two applications were received the first year of the program.

Harper asked the board to consider two options as the school moves into the second year of the program.

The first option is to continue having one Spanish immersion class at the 24-student maximum and 15 students on the waiting list for the class and four regular kindergarten sections. The second option is to have two Spanish immersion classes with about 19 students in each class and have three regular classes with about 21 students per classroom.


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