U-46 Earning Rep as National Leader in Dual-Language Education

U-46 Earning Rep as National Leader in Dual-Language Education

Two U-46 administrators are among 24 dual language experts featured in a new book about successful dual-language schools, adding to the district’s growing reputation as a national leader in dual-language education.

Wilma Valero, director of English Language Learner Educational Services, and Patricia Makishima, Dual Language Program coordinator, discussed their experiences leading U-46’s nearly unprecedented dual language expansion. The book, Creating Dual Language Schools for a Transformed World: Administrators Speak was written by internationally recognized education researchers Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas. It features Valero and Makishima in five of its seven chapters.

“We have known for many years how lucky we are to have Wilma Valero and Patricia Makishima at the helm of our dual language program in U-46,” said CEO Tony Sanders. “We are happy they have had the opportunity to share their wisdom with the wider education community.”

Dual-language education in U-46 offers native Spanish speakers the opportunity to learn English without losing their first language. The program prepares students to master both languages academically, becoming biliterate and bilingual. U-46 now offers this type of dual language model in 30 elementary schools for kindergarten through fifth grade. It also has “two-way” dual language classrooms in 18 schools, where English speaking students learn along with Spanish speaking students.

The program has become increasingly popular with English-speaking families interested  in the enrichment opportunity for their children.

U-46 presently is collecting interest forms for the 2015-16 school year’s dual language program. Incoming kindergartners who speak English or Spanish are eligible to enroll, as are incoming first graders whose native language is English. Elementary schools will host their own informational meetings throughout February and March and families will also have the opportunity to attend one of two meetings at the U-46 Educational Services Center in Elgin.

Click here for a YouTube video showing the biliterate program in action.

For more information about the dual language program or specific dates and times for these informational meetings, visit district.u-46.org/ell.

SOURCE: U-46 press release