Dual Language Immersion
Message from the Principal
We are excited to announce that PA Walsh STEAM Academy will be transitioning to a Spanish Dual Language School. Starting this coming 2023-2024 school year, incoming TK and Kindergarten students will be participating in this new program. Students will receive instruction in two languages, where Spanish will be the instructional language for 50% of the student’s day and English for the other 50%. Both native English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students will receive academic instruction separately in two languages daily.
As the principal of PA Walsh, I am thrilled to be a part of this initiative. I had experience designing and implementing the Dual Immersion program at San Martin Gwinn 10 years ago and continue to see the program's success through my own daughter's high achievement in both Spanish and English. Some of the benefits of this program include promoting high levels of bilingual and biliteracy proficiency, academic achievement in all content areas, and multicultural competencies.
I know that the Walsh community will embrace this opportunity and as a staff, we have begun learning more about this new instructional model. Below are some frequently asked questions. If you would like more information please contact us at 408-201-6500 or the district office from June 19-July 27 at 408-201-6000.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can my child enter the program at any grade?
If English is the primary language spoken at home, Kindergarten and 1st grade are the only grades you can enter the program. The language demands in Spanish become too difficult past 1st grade. Students will enter based on the waitlist.
If Spanish is the primary language spoken in the home and your child qualifies for ELL services, they may be entered in the program. Their overall Spanish will be assessed to ensure this is the proper placement and or their previous school's placement will be taken into consideration.
If there is evidence that your child has participated in a dual program in another district, then they may be allowed into our Dual Language program past 1st grade. Parents will need to provide the Coordinator of Dual Language with a Dual Language report card or letter from the previous school district.
Will my child learn the same curriculum as the students in a monolingual classroom?
Yes, all common core standards will be taught (see content allocation chart to see subjects taught by language for each grade). Teachers will use many strategies to help the students understand vocabulary and concepts; such as, Total Physical Response (TPR) putting meaningful gestures to words or concepts or use of songs to name a few.
How can I help my child if I don’t speak the language?
Homework should be a review of what is taught during the school day. If your child cannot remember what to do or is unable to complete the homework with your assistance, please write a note to the teacher.
Please help your child at home in the language you are most comfortable in. Your job as a parent is to continue to build and foster concepts and vocabulary in the native language. Once a concept is learned in one language it is easy to add the vocabulary word in the new language.
Also, read every night! Talk to your child in your native language about what he or she is learning at school. This helps to develop conceptual knowledge
What is the difference between a 90:10 and a 50:50 model?
The first number refers to the amount of instructional time initially spent for instruction in the target or non-English language in kindergarten.
At each grade level, the amount of instruction in English and the target language remain the same, as per the charts, below, and is considered a "simultaneous literacy" model, as developing literacy in the target language and English are focused on simultaneously.
The 50:50 DI model requires a closely aligned curricular program where instruction in key content areas, such as language arts and math, so that the skills are not retaught in both languages, but rather are built upon in each language.
What will your student’s day look like?