Dual Immersion Program at MHS
The DI Program began at MHS during the 2015-16 school year. The school site chose a 90-10 model because of it's effectiveness in promoting student achievement of the three goals for DI: academic excellence; bilingual-biliteracy and multi-cultural understanding.
The 90-10 model describes the percentage of time of instruction in the targeted language (the first number) and the amount of time in English instruction (second number). Students begin K and 1st grade with 90% of instruction in Spanish, maximizing the amount of exposure to the targeted language. As the years progress, a shift of 10% Spanish instructional time per year, becomes English instruction time, i.e., 2nd grade has 80% of time in Spanish instruction, with 20% in English, 3rd grade has 70% of time in Spanish, with 30% in English, and so on.
We have worked diligently to select the best teachers around to help us meet these goals. All of our teachers have BCLADs (Bilingual Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development) with a number of years of teaching experience: anywhere between 5-30 years. Teachers have either worked in a bilingual or a Dual Language setting before they came to MHS.
As a vacancy opened at MHS, a DI teacher was selected to replace this natural attrition of retirement or transfer. This has allowed our teachers to learn the content of the grade level, become accustomed to the high level of challenge our students require and get to know the South Pasadena community. We currently have Maestra Reyes as our K teacher; Maestra Salas in 1st grade; Maestra Sandoval in 2nd grade. We have Mrs. Peralta, who will serve as our 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Ocegueda, as our 4th grade teacher, and Mrs. Tull who will serve as our 5th grade teacher.
Part of the programing requires primary grade teachers to partner with an ELP (English Language Partner). The teachers work together and swap students for the percentage of time as proscribed by the 90-10 model. Teachers exchange their students anywhere between 20-45 minutes per day. Mrs. Landau (K), Mrs. Klotzle (1st grade) and Mrs. Owens (2nd grade) serve as our ELPs.
We are quite excited about our program and believe it will become an exemplary program amongst the over 400 programs in California.
Dual Language Immersion Thriving in South Pasadena Schools
10/20/15 SOUTH PASADENA –At Monterey Hills Elementary School, twenty-four Kindergarten students begin their day in the classroom of Spanish Dual Immersion teacher, Maestra Sandra Salas, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the days of the week, all in Spanish. The program follows a 90/10 model in which 90% of the school day is taught in Spanish and 10% is taught in English.
“Words don’t escape me when I am asked to describe our new program: increible, fabuloso y magnifico!”said Dr. Laurie Narro, Principal of Monterey Hills Elementary School. “We are so excited about the implementation of DI (dual immersion), as the three essential components necessary for an excellent program are in place: the right teacher, the right instructional strategies, and the right curriculum. Maestra Salas has many years of experience and utilizes appropriate strategies that are building the fundamentals of language and mathematics in Spanish for our students, and has created a classroom community that supports the acquisition of a second language. Maestra Salas is using songs and chants, and provides routines and structures to develop the students’ language. She also incorporates strong, Common Core aligned instructional materials in language and mathematics. Everyone who has come to visit leaves smiling and exclaims, ‘Wow! The students are so engaged!’”
On September 17, 2015, the District’s Dual Immersion Advisory Committee met to bring forth a school site recommendation to house the Mandarin Chinese Dual Immersion Kindergarten class for the 2016-2017 school year. The Committee, comprised of community members, elementary teachers, elementary site administrators, and a district administrator, agreed that the composition of existing school site staff is important to support any dual immersion program. Mrs. Salas and Mrs. Jessica Zavala, the Assistant Principal of Monterey Hills Elementary, both have held positions in other dual immersion programs, and gave testament to the importance of having school staff on a campus that can support the targeted language of the dual immersion program. Implementing a dual language program in a school that has teachers or staff who are bi-literate, bicultural, and bilingual is essential to the program’s success. The Committee learned that Marengo Elementary had a great number of staff members who matched the criteria. Additionally, through the community-wide survey conducted during the 2014-2015 school year, a significant number of Marengo families expressed an interested in a Mandarin Dual Immersion program. At the conclusion of their discussion, there was consensus among Committee members to recommend placement of the new program at Marengo Elementary School. Mrs. Katy Nielsen, former District Dual Immersion Coordinator and current Assistant Principal of Marengo Elementary, informed the Board of the Committee’s recommendation at the October 13th Board of Education meeting. Mrs. Nielsen will be actively supporting the program, and her knowledge and background were discussed as positive assets. Mrs. Kim Sinclair, Principal of Marengo Elementary, stated, “We are very excited that the District’s Mandarin Dual Immersion program will begin at Marengo Elementary School. Our teachers and staff are committed to preparing our students for the 21st Century by becoming bilingual, bi-literate, and bicultural. We are confident that the Mandarin Dual Immersion program will be a great addition to the many fabulous programs that exist at Marengo.”