VUSD wants to hear from parents in two languages

Visalia Unified surveying parents on a dual immersion program for the 2020-2021 school year

The Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – Visalia Unified wants to hear from English and Spanish speaking parents about its ongoing conversation of creating a dual immersion program for the 2020-2021 school year.

A two-way dual immersion classroom would feature a balanced number of native English speakers and native Spanish speakers, explained Sarah Seymore, director, curriculum and instruction for VUSD. Both sets of students would serve as language models throughout the day with the goal to have all students in the program become bilingual and biliterate. This model for instruction would begin in the early grades with the majority of instruction occurring in Spanish. By the end of sixth grade this would change to the majority of instruction occurring in English.

The new program would begin at one elementary school, laying the groundwork for the future development of a preschool to 12th grade pathway so that students can develop their bilingualism and biliteracy. A survey about the program is now available on the home page of the Visalia Unified School District web site in both English and Spanish.

“Other schools across the nation offer this program so we decided it’s time to look deeper,” Seymore noted. “The initial response from teachers has been very positive, so we are now using the survey to provide us with feedback from parents. The State of California is encouraging these programs with a goal that, by 2030, half of graduates are receiving the Seal of Biliteracy and in 2040 the goal is three out of four graduates.”

The bilingual immersion program is envisioned to lead to the creation of a learning community in which students from diverse backgrounds learn to speak, read and write in Spanish and English, participate in multicultural studies and explore cultural experiences as part of their school experience. For information, contact Sarah Seymore, 730-7555; [email protected].

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