In Fresno Unified School District, eleven elementary schools have incorporated the Dual-Language Immersion Program.
Both native English speakers and English learners get taught in two languages from kindergarten onward.
Being bilingual is a trait that was once looked down upon, but in this day and age speaking more than one language has proven to have many benefits.
“Children now days really need to know more than one language. It really helps them to be more worldly, better prepared for college, better prepared for the workforce,” said Patricia Wolf Kincaee, manager for Spanish Dual Immersion in Fresno Unified.
At Fresno Unified the Dual Immersion Program is designed to be 90 percent Spanish and 10 percent English from Pre-K through First grade.
The instruction percentage gradually changes over the years to where its 50 percent Spanish and 50 percent English from 4th to 6th grade.
The program ends with 30 percent Spanish and 70 percent English in high school.
When it comes to Dual Immersion, those against the program say teaching mainly in Spanish takes away from learning the English language,
Rowell Elementary Principal, Alice McClintock says test scores aren’t showing that.
“Our dual immersion first graders students are testing as well or even above their English counterparts at this time,” explained McClintock. “So it is showing that the strong instruction that is happening in the classroom is paying off and its making a difference and our students are definitely learning.”
Rowell Elementary in Fresno offers the program to kindergarten and first graders.
“They know their letters, their sounds, they know their upper case, lower case, and now they can even read so that’s a great accomplishment,” said Rosa Navarro, a Kindergarten Spanish teacher.
The goal of the Dual Immersion Program is to teach all students to read, write, speak and listen in both Spanish and English, but also to have cultural awareness.
“Children have the opportunity to come to learn to value who and what they are, as well as, learn about others,” Wolf Kincaee said.
The program is rapidly growing in the valley.
If you’d like to see the Dual-Language Immersion Program be part of your child’s school, bring it to your principal’s attention.