In dual language education programs, students are taught literacy and academic content in English and a partner language. In Beloit, we have chosen Spanish as the partner language. The goals of dual language programs are for students to develop high levels of language proficiency and literacy in two languages, to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, and to develop an appreciation for and an understanding of diverse cultures. (Center for Applied Linguistics)
In the School District of Beloit, we have implemented a special type of dual language immersion called Two-Way Immersion. In Two-Way Immersion, balanced numbers of native English speakers and native speakers of the partner language are integrated for instruction. Both groups of students would serve as language models and language learners at different times.
During the 2017-2018 school year, the Dual Language Program is located at the following schools: 4K-3rd grades at Hackett, Robinson and Todd Schools; as well as 4th-5th grade at each of the intermediate schools- Aldrich, Cunningham, Fruzen and McNeel. A grade level has been added every year. During this school year, the program will reach 5th grade to accommodate the students who have been in this program since the primary grades. Students with a solid foundation in the Spanish language are considered for entry into the program at any grade level. Students who have very few to no knowledge or skills in Spanish are only accepted during the 4K and Kindergarten years. Consideration is given on a case-by-case basis for non-Spanish speaking applicants entering 1st grade.
We are following the 50/50 model: About fifty percent of the students in each class are native Spanish speakers, and the other 50% are native English speakers. This also means that half of the instruction will be in English (Literacy and Math), and the other half will be in Spanish (Literacy and Science/Social Studies). Students will learn language through content, not as content. They will be learning what all other Beloit students are learning, but they will be learning in Spanish, as well as in English.
Research has consistently shown that students who are taught in Dual Language Immersion programs in the long run academically outperform students who are taught in English only. This is true for both Native English speaking students and students whose first language is not English. Research also shows the endless benefits to being bilingual.