By Lourdes Medrano
Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/271944.php
If you go
What: Meeting about planned Spanish immersion program.
When: 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26.
Where: Ventana Vista Elementary School, 6085 N. Kolb Road.
For more information: Call 209-7500.
Kindergartners in the Catalina Foothills School District will have the option to attend a new Spanish immersion program starting next fall.
The program will be housed at Ventana Vista Elementary School, said Mary Jo Conery, assistant superintendent for 21st Century Learning.
"It starts in kindergarten and we will move it up one year at a time," she said of the program.
The district will hold a meeting to inform parents about the program at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at Ventana Vista.
"We are not going to offer it unless we have enough students for at least two classes … we hope there's more," Conery said.
The district will follow a partial immersion model that teaches students in English half the time and in Spanish half the time.
"We will always teach the language arts in English," she said. "And right now we're looking at math, science and social studies in Spanish."
The district is working with a world languages consultant from the University of Maryland to implement the immersion program.
"We are looking at a goal of all of our students becoming bilingual or multilingual," Conery said. "We think it's going to be really important for them in their lifetime to not only be culturally literate but be able to possess more than one language."
The program will be housed at Ventana Vista because the school has room for growth, said its principal, Kim Boling.
"Our capacity is for 700 students and we have about 430 now," she said.
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade now receive 30 minutes of Spanish-language four days a week, Boling said.
Children not enrolled in the immersion program will continue to receive the two weekly hours of Spanish, she said.
The earlier children are exposed to a foreign language, the easier it is for them to learn it, the principal said.
"In today's world, our students need to be multilingual in their adult life," she noted.
● Contact reporter Lourdes Medrano at 618-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.