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Jasper County School District to begin bilingual program

Published: May. 10, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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JASPER COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - A new program in the Lowcountry will teach students two languages at one time. All while learning their normal curriculum.

A new program at the Jasper County School District means that kindergartners and first graders might be spending the first half of their day learning in English, y pasar la segunda mitad del día aprendiendo en español.

“The reason it’s starting in kindergartners, as we discussed, is that they are sponges,” Multilingual Coordinator Dawn Thayer said.

The district says the new dual language program is a way for students who are native English speakers and native Spanish speakers to immerse themselves in the classroom together and learn each other’s languages side-by-side.

English and language arts will be taught with a native English speaking teacher and science and math and social studies will be taught with a native Spanish-speaking teacher. WTOC asked if they were worried students learning subjects in a language they do not know would impact their performance.

“It’s just about listening. And being immersed in that. Because it is not a structure program where I’m learning grammar or I’m learning sentence structure or I’m just learning vocab, it’s immersion,” Thayer said.

They say being forced to hear the new language will allow students to learn quickly. And they will make sure they still understand the material. To carry out the program they are looking for two new native Spanish speaking teachers to join their staff. The district says being bilingual gives students more options to be successful in the future

“Why would I want my child to be in this? It’s a different career and the different college university, your college career goals, there’s so much more or many more doors that open with this,” Thayer said.

Enrollment has been capped at 40 students for now.

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