POSTED: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 10:04pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 5:45am
Jacksonville, TX (KETK) — An elementary school in Jacksonville teaches their Kindergarten through Fifth grade students literacy and content in two languages.
English and Spanish.
At Fred Douglass elementary school ,kindergarten through 5th grade students, learn Math in English, and Social Studies and Science in Spanish.
Kids whose first language is English and kids whose first language is Spanish are mixed together in one classroom.
The goal of the program is to have students be bilingual and biliterate when they graduate from Fred Douglass.
Fred Douglass Elementary is one of the only schools in East Texas to offer a two way dual language program.
The students learn the language (English or Spanish) through the subject.
"We know that we live in a global society. It's only becoming more global in the future. We know that will be such an asset for these kids to be truly bilingual and biliterate," said Principal Dr. Amber Penn.
Fred Douglass started the program about twenty years ago.
Since then, the program has doubled.
They now have four classes at every grade level: 44 English speakers and 44 Spanish speakers in each classroom
"We know that they become biliterate and bilingual that's great, but what it actually does to your brain that becoming bilingual at a young age what it does to your math and science scores in the future so when these kids hit middle high school they're just doing unbelievable work," said Dr. Penn.
Each class has one Spanish speaking teacher and one English.
Robert Ramirez has been a dual language 2nd grade teacher for 8 years.
He says they pair an English speaking student with a Spanish speaking student to work through their projects and assignments together.
"To me it's very unique. Your English speakers and your Spanish speakers, their communicating beautifully and to me that makes my day when they both learn from each other."
Holly Sansom had a son go through the program.
She says now at the high school level, learning both English and Spanish, helped him through all subjects in school.
"When he got to high school, he was surprised at how much Spanish he knew. Also I feel like the dual language program taught Trent how to think critically. He had to think about language and how it worked and how it was put together."