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~