BELLFLOWER – Bellflower Unified will expand its highly popular Spanish dual-immersion program to a second elementary school in 2017-18, creating a convenient option for families living in the north end of the district to pursue the cutting-edge educational offering.
The new language program will be located at Washington Elementary School, where Bellflower Unified officials began providing dual-immersion preschool instruction in fall 2016.
The site will supplement the District’s dual-immersion program at the Intensive Learning Center (ILC) in Lakewood. That program, launched with a kindergarten class in 2013-14, features instruction from preschool through third grade; fourth-grade courses will begin in fall 2017.
“Our community has urged expansion of this program since we began the first classes at the ILC, recognizing the benefits of dual-language instruction in boosting academic performance, broadening career opportunities and deepening understanding of diverse communities,” Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said.
Families are invited to tours and informational meetings about both programs at 9 to 10 a.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27 at the ILC, 4718 Michelson St., Lakewood. Registration for kindergarten and preschool opens March 6.
Research shows dual-immersion students gain significant understanding of cultures associated with the language, show overall cognitive advances and earn stronger grades. The program has been shown to help close the achievement gap between English learners and their peers.
Bellflower Unified’s dual-immersion program follows a 90:10 model, with students receiving 90 percent of their instruction in Spanish during the early years, and gradually shifting to 50 percent instruction in each language.
Each class includes a mix of native English and Spanish speakers, who support each other as they learn the two languages while mastering Bellflower Unified’s rigorous California Standards-driven curriculum.
The ILC program’s popularity has grown each year, with a third kindergarten class added this year after demand from area families peaked. The two preschool programs – part of an effort to expand early learning opportunities – proved so popular that they quickly filled.
Preschool dual-immersion students receive priority enrollment in the elementary dual-immersion program.
Bellflower will continue expanding the programs through middle and high school as students advance, with the ultimate goal of awarding the California Seal of Biliteracy to participants. Success at each stage is marked with Path to Biliteracy Awards.
BUSD_ IMMERSION 1: Proud family members pose with a school official and their daughter after she received a Pathway to Biliteracy Award at Bellflower Unified’s Intensive Learning Center. The awards were given to kindergarteners who demonstrated grade-appropriate skills in English and Spanish.
BUSD_IMMERSION 2: Intensive Learning Center kindergarteners Jaziel Irene, left, and Trevor Festini read and listen to interactive audio books in Spanish.