San Diego Family: Feb 2017

Page 32

Photo credit: Chula Vista Elementary School District

Kristen Castillo

After Prop 58

Will Your Child Attend a Dual Immersion School? Gabriela Moseman grew up in Mexico

and knows how important it is to be bilingual and biliterate. When she worked in Mexico City, she encountered an employee who spoke fluent Spanish, but couldn’t read or write the language. “It was shocking,” she says. “You would think someone who speaks Spanish, reads and writes Spanish—and that’s not the case.” That’s why Moseman’s 8-year-old son Cody is enrolled in a Spanish-English dual immersion program at Veterans Elementary in Chula Vista. “My son needs to learn not only to speak Spanish, but how to read and write in Spanish,” she says, explaining the second grader is also studying Mandarin outside of school.

Bilingual Learning Multilingual education will be an option in California starting in July 2017. That’s because Prop 58, which allows school districts to start dual language immersion (DI) programs to teach in a language other than English to native and non–native English speakers, passed with

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Erin Dare, principal of Heritage Elementary in Chula Vista, won a Leadership in Biliteracy award for her school’s success in Dual Language Immersion. 73.5 percent statewide approval. In San Diego County, 72 percent of voters’ approved. The new law removes the 18-year mandate under prop 227 that required California students to be taught English-only, unless parents signed waivers. “Prop 58 really just helps remove some of the barriers,” says Olympia Kyriakidis, Director of Dual Language and the Achievement Gap Task Force at San Diego County Office of Education. She says the waiver requirement made parents skeptical about multilingual learning. “With that being eliminated, it helps clear the way. You don’t need a waiver to be in a STEM program or an arts program, so why would you need a waiver to be in a language program?” Bilingual programs provide cognitive benefits, as well as fluency in reading, writing, listening and speaking in two or more languages. “The biggest misconception is that kids won’t learn English and that absolutely is not true,” says Kyriakidis. “Research study after research study shows if you have a quality program, the kids will thrive. We