Frequently Asked Questions: Dual Language Academy

What is Dual Language and why are we bringing it to Omaha Catholic Schools Consortium schools?

Dual Language Two Way Immersion (TWI) is an educational model that integrates native English speakers and native Spanish speakers for all or most of the day, with the goals of promoting high academic achievement, first-and second-language development and cross-cultural understanding for all students. In DL TWI programs, language learning takes place primarily through content instruction. Academic subjects are taught to all students through both English and Spanish. As students and teachers work together to perform academic tasks, the students’ language abilities are developed along with their knowledge of content area subject matter.

How did you select the location for the Dual Language Academy?

The building, St. Stanislaus, was chosen to host our Academy based on location and accessibility. It is located in a central spot, near both schools with quick access to the interstate. Preschool, Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Academy classes will be housed at the St. Stanislaus campus. Grades 1-8, as they are established, will be housed at both Our Lady of Lourdes and Sts. Peter and Paul.

What is your partnership with Boston College and what do they bring to the table?

We have established a five-year partnership with Boston College’s Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools—TWIN-CS. The network promotes continuous professional development, critical partnerships with scholars and practitioners, data collection and research. Boston College has been successfully mentoring schools across the United States, and currently has 26 schools in the network. Training is provided through the TWIN-CS Academy, webinars, and coaching, networking and individual consultations. Participating schools report a continuous increase in enrollment. Statistics reveal positive growth in learning outcomes.

How is this program similar to or different than what Omaha Public Schools is offering in its Dual Language Program?

Given that early childhood education is essential in the growth of children, we made the decision to begin with our preschool and prekindergarten programs. We believe that beginning with our youngest learners will be advantageous as it will start the language immersion earlier, increasing our student’s academic growth. The foundation of our Catholic faith makes our program unique and special.

Why is this offered to only pre-school, pre-k and kindergarten and not all grade levels?

We have selected an incremental approach that will enable us to focus our time and resources to ensure the greatest student success—strong language acquisition, bi-cultural education, and faith foundation. Our plan begins with preschool, preK, and kindergarten and includes the addition of one grade level each year until we have a full Preschool-8th grade program.

Will other Catholic Schools outside the Consortium be able to offer Dual Language and have these resources available to them?

As collaborative members of our archdiocesan schools, we endeavor to make all schools better. Should other schools want to learn more about the program, we would be happy to share our best practices with them. Students from the entire metro area are welcome to attend our schools.

How will it benefit our students?

In most cases, learning another language enhances a child’s English ability. Children can learn much about English by learning the structure of another language. Common vocabulary also helps children learn the meaning of new words in English. Experimental studies have shown that no long-term delay in native English language development occurs in children participating in second language classes, even in full immersion programs.

In fact, children enrolled in foreign language programs score statistically higher on standardized tests conducted in English. A number of reports have demonstrated that children who have learned a second language earn higher SAT scores, particularly on the verbal section of the test. One study showed that, by the fifth grade of an immersion program, students outperformed all comparison groups and remained high academic achievers throughout their schooling.

How does this Dual Language program fit into the overall vision and plan for the Consortium Schools?

Our Consortium schools, as part of our Continuous Improvement plan, continually seek and research best educational practices. Dual Language Immersion is a strong, research-based educational practice that has proven success. Education is essential to support our Universal Church. The Consortium has always strived to produced highly educated faith-filled leaders who are stewards for our community and world, and the Dual Language Immersion model aligns with this vision.

For other questions regarding the Dual Language Academy contact:

 

Julie Goetzinger:
(402) 590-2810
jmgoetzinger@archomaha.org

Beatriz Arellanes:
(402) 557-5570
bearellanes@archomaha.org