It is hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner! This fall has been so busy and our teachers and students have been working so hard and learning so much! Be sure to check out some of the great things we are doing in our classrooms!
We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and we wish everyone a very blessed and special holiday season!
Just a few updates before the break....
High School Dual Enrollment Update
In our last update we shared with you how we had re-entered planning for dual enrollment with the University of South Carolina so that we can offer this opportunity for our immersion students in Lexington One. The College of Arts and Humanities and the Modern Languages department at USC have worked very hard with us to get this effort off the ground. We learned last week that despite our joint efforts and the proposal being approved at many levels along the way as it worked its way through the system, once the proposal reached the very upper-leadership levels at the university, it was not approved. We are all severely disappointed (yet again) that we were not able to get this in place for next year.
In light of this latest news, we are working with our high schools to arrange for AP offerings for our students. We recognize that even though our students are capable of performing at higher levels, it would still allow them to earn some college credits immediately until we are able to offer more. We also have units of study we had proposed to USC that we can continue to work on and offer to our immersion students next year to supplement the AP curriculum and challenge our students.
Please rest assured that we are continuing to have conversations with other post-secondary institutions and planning for dual enrollment opportunities with our world language and dual language colleagues in SC and beyond. We will keep you posted and updated on our progress.
Immersion Program Highlights
RBES immersion teachers have been working hard this year to build school community around the immersion program and to raise awareness for Spanish language and the many different cultures that are represented in Spanish speaking countries. Recently, the second grade immersion L2 teacher, Mrs. Gutierrez, worked with her entire team and other school support staff to create a "Culture Corner" where all of the Spanish speaking countries are represented by their flags, along with a display of some items and pictures that are typical of some of the countries. They also found a video (in English) for each country and created and posted QR codes, so that any teacher in the school could bring their classes by to learn a little bit about where Spanish is spoken and the rich cultural heritage of their teachers and some of their fellow students and families. One of the most exciting things about our rich, diverse immersion programs, is the cultural enrichment for all of us who are involved. Being open to new cultures and diverse ways of thinking is one of the most useful life-skills we can teach ourselves and our children. Thank you for embracing this opportunity and for supporting our teachers and schools.
At GMS, sixth and seventh grade passport have begun research study on Guatemala. Students have been reading authentic Guatemalan newspapers and have reported back to the rest of the class as a formative activity; they will be ready to answer questions from classmates and/or teacher for their summative. Students have worked on specific sections every day. www.kiosko.net is the website students have used to find the Guatemalan newspaper. Students will continue learning about a few more topics on Guatemala, such as clothing traditions, chocolate, festive holidays and landmarks before concluding the unit.
At CSMS, seventh and eighth graders are finishing the presentations for the Guatemala Unit. They researched, wrote an essay, created a KeyNote/Google Slide Presentation, built a model/diorama or cooked a dish for the class. Below are two of the topics that students chose to study.
Our high school immersion teachers are getting creative with classroom space and set up. LHS got their benches for their outdoor classroom! Thanks to any of you who donated. They were able to get outside while the weather was still warm enough.
WKHS immersion students enjoyed an Around the Town activity in which Sra. Domenech organized the entire classroom into stations representing the different parts of town students have been studying. At each station they had to use authentic text to accomplish a task in the L2.
Did you know...?
Investing in Language Education for the
Post shared by: COFLT , March 2017
In 2014, a bipartisan group of members of Congress asked the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to undertake a new study of the nation’s language education needs. Four members of the United States Senate—Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)—and four members of the House of Representatives—Rush Holt (D-New Jersey), Leonard Lance (R-New Jersey), David Price (D-North Carolina), and Don Young (R-Alaska)—signed two letters requesting that the Academy provide answers to the following questions:
1. How does language learning influence economic growth, cultural diplomacy, the productivity of future generations, and the fulfillment of all Americans?
2. What actions should the nation take to ensure excellence in all languages as well as international education and research, including how we may more effectively use current resources to advance language attainment?
In response to this request, the Academy created the Commission on Language Learning. The Commission’s final report (published this year), America’s Languages: Investing in Language Learning for the 21st Century, offers concrete recommendations to improve access to as many languages as possible, for people of every age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background. You can click the link to learn more and to download the PDF version of this report.
Support for the Commission was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and resources from the Academy’s New Initiatives Fund.
Fall is full of holidays like Dia de los muertos, Octoberfest, La Toussaint (All Saints Day), and the Moon Festival. While celebrations are not the extent of our cultural experiences, they do help us understand the practices and perspectives of other cultures!
Immersion News and Important Dates!
Happy Fall everyone! This school year is already 1/4 of the way through!
Just a few quick updates and reminders as we end our first quarter and begin the second....
Immersion Program Highlights
At MES, 5th grade immersion students are taking part in an exchange with a level 4 & 5 French class from LHS. Read our Voices From the Field blog for more info and pictures.
DES German immersion students celebrated German-American heritage week this month with a visit from Ankë Bar, German author and illustrator. You can see pictures below and view her website here.
At PHMS immersion students have been selling “homemade” piñatas during lunch to raise money for victims of Hurricane Irma. Ms. Hughes says, "The students worked hard on these piñatas and were so eager to give back it was inspiring." They will also celebrate Day of the Dead this week by eating the traditional bread eaten by our Spanish speaking countries of study.
This month, WKHS immersion year 3 students wrapped up filming a Zombie movie just in time to conduct a mock UN conference discussing North Korea. (Talk about range and flexibility with language!) Each student was an ambassador to a different country and came prepared with their opening statement to deliver and ready to defend, negotiate, and collaborate their country’s stance on the issues regarding what to do about North Korea’s growing threat to the world. Year 2 students drafted a business letter to a company or organization to ask about their needs and offering their bilingual services. Year 1 students have been working on planning an imaginary trip to Spain (hopefully it will become reality one day.) As a fun October twist, they created comic strip stories about a monster visiting one of the attractions in the region of Spain they are researching.
Also, from LHS Immersion, Mrs. Bausch has registered her class on DonorsChoose.org, an amazing website where individuals can contribute to public schools projects. She asks: "Please spread the word about our class project Take It Outside! (and contribute if you can)." https://www.donorschoose.org/we-teach/4893452
Did you know...?
Why Global and Cultural Competencies Matter -Celebrating International Education Week (IEW)!
The Department of Education — in collaboration with the Title VI National and Language Resource Centers for international and foreign language education at The George Washington University, Georgetown University and Howard University — are holding a workshop for K-12 teachers and administrators wishing to help their students develop the global and cultural competencies critical for success in the 21st century.
The workshop will take place on Monday, November 13th, 1:00-4:00pm, at the U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC.
International Education Week (IEW), November 13-17, 2017, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State is part of our efforts to promote programs that help U.S. students and teachers develop the language skills and global competencies critical for success in the 21st century.
For more detailed information, check out this short clip:
Immersion News and Important Dates!
Immersion students and teachers have hit the ground running this year! We have all been working hard to prepare for your child this year in many ways. We are offering support to our teachers through coaching, workshops and individualized support (personal and professional) in all of our programs. We are also working collaboratively with our human resources department to continue recruiting for teachers (this is always ongoing) and to support those who are new to our district - and country.
Our new teachers are still learning about their schools and curriculum, the community and trying to get settled into their homes. Our new international staff are also learning to work in American schools and to live in an American community, which is quite different for many of them than the school and community setting they come from. Please encourage your child to be curious about their teacher and where they are from and what life is like for them! Our world language staff have lived and worked in communities all over the world! They can help bring new perspectives to learning and problem-solving to our daily lives!
We are continuing to work with post-secondary institutions to provide dual-credit options for our immersion learners at high school. We hope to have some exciting news in the coming weeks to share with everyone!
Many of our staff and students have family in the islands, in Florida and in Mexico. We would like to extend our deepest thoughts to all of those in our schools and community who have been impacted directly or indirectly through friends and family by recent events. Several of our schools and community members have been very supportive of these devastated areas by sending resources and materials to the locations who have been hit hard. THANK YOU for so much for your support!
Coming Soon: Immersion EDTalks!
This year we will be offering some immersion informational sessions for elementary and secondary parents who want to learn more about how to support your child in immersion and about events and learning opportunities for your child through our immersion program! Secondary date coming soon!
Tuesday October 3, 2017 - 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. - Elementary Immersion Edtalk
What? Immersion 101 for parents
Who? Parents who are new to immersion or who want to learn more about how to support your child in immersion.
Where? District Office, Staff Development Room - 100 Tarrar Springs Road, Lexington
Immersion Program Highlights
This month from our Elementary Immersion Program, we highlight an important piece of advice coming from GPS K, "The best investment you can make in your child’s academic success is to spend time reading to him or her. Just 15 minutes each evening will make a difference. Reading together enhances your relationship, your child’s awareness of the world, conversation skills, reading comprehension, and writing ability." The stronger your child's literacy skills are in the L1 (first language), the stronger his or her literacy skills will be in the L2 (second language).
From Middle School Immersion, big news is that MGMS now is home to two immersion programs, both French and Mandarin! The Moon Festival is coming soon and Mandarin immersion 6th graders are planning to study the origins and legends about this traditional festival, and more excitingly they are planning to make moon cakes.
And in High School Immersion, at LHS, RBHS and WKHS we have three groups of immersion students. They all follow the same basic curriculum, but they are personalized for students and paced for the language and culture being explored.
For example, at LHS:
Year 1 students (9th graders) are currently exploring the first unit: A Summer Abroad with the essential question: How does proficiency in the target language broaden and enrich experiences in other countries?
Year 2 students (10th graders) are exploring the theme of A Personal Journey: How do where I live and the surrounding culture influence how I deal with personal issues?
Year 3 students at LHS (11th graders) are embarking on a study of Global Communities: What goals do international communities have in common? We have begun with a look at the UN and its role in global issues.
Did you know...
...that there is a strong link between U.S. national security and learning a foreign language? Recently a panel of experts convened at Georgetown University to discuss this very real issue, and the lack of emphasis Americans tend to place on world languages as compared to the rest of the world. When asked, "Why is language important in American foreign policy?" Esther Brimmer, foreign relations expert, asserts that speaking other languages builds our capacity to engage internationally, to attend to humanitarian and human rights crises, and to influence ideas affecting foreign policy. Furthermore, in response to the role of foreign languages in national defense, Michael Nugent, Director of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office adds, "When we’re engaging, regardless of mission, whether it’s a natural disaster in Haiti, or any kind of thing, DOD tends to be the first on the ground with equipment and other things. By having those language capabilities and having regional experts in those areas trained in advance to work those regions, we do much better in meeting mission, but we also do much better in developing partnerships. It is also important to understand the culture and the region in which they’re working. That’s the only way you can really build good partnerships."
Simply stated, by learning foreign languages, we improve our ability to build relationships, build partnerships and understand other cultures. Marty Abbott, Executive Director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages states, “I think that largely there’s an interest on the part of the general public in learning other languages, but it’s our national mentality that really prevents us from opening up to the experience, not to mention the fact that there’s a perception that the rest of the world speaks English.” When asked how to reverse this situation, Abbot responded: "We need to start early and stay long. We often say we need to make sure that languages are included in the school curricula just the way math is. If you told a parent, oh, your child isn’t going to start learning math until eighth grade, I think we’d have a revolution on our hands." And when asked why building a strong language program is so difficult in American schools, she points to bad teaching that happened in the past. But times have changed! In Lexington One, with our immersion programs and our emphasis on language as core in middle school, our students are graduating with real language proficiency, the ability to communicate and therefore build relationships and partnerships that might one day affect our national security. I'd say those are some great reasons to learn another language. How about you?
For a link to the complete transcript of the panel discussion, click here.
~ Central Services Immersion Instructional Team~
Dear Immersion Families,
As the school year begins we would like to welcome you and your immersion language learners back into our classrooms! This year we will be sharing important immersion program updates with you around each marking period through this blog. Your schools and teachers will also be posting updates and sharing news with you through newsletters this year.
This year our first group of immersion students (French and Spanish) are in 11th grade at Lexington High, White Knoll High and River Bluff High Schools!
We are excited that we such a diverse immersion team this year! We have immersion teachers in our elementary and secondary classrooms from many different countries around the world! These countries and regions include French West Africa, Germany, France, China, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia, Honduras, Cuba, Costa Rica, Panama, Canada, and Uruguay!
We would like to thank you so much for trusting us with your children's education. We are thrilled that Lexington One supports learning opportunities that provide rich experiences and critical skills to our learners through this program!
We hope you have an amazing 2017-18 school year!
~ Central Services Immersion Instructional Team~