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Waltham School Committee Votes to Implement Dual Language Immersion

mittee Votes to Implement Dual Language Immersion

Waltham School Committee Votes to Implement Dual Language Immersion

At the October 7 Waltham School Committee meeting, members unanimously voted to approve the school district’s recommendation to introduce two dual language Kindergarten classrooms in fall 2016. 
 
Dual Language is an innovative instructional approach in which students are taught literacy and other academic content in two languages.  As a result, students exit from a dual language program proficient in two languages.  Research suggests that dual language has positive benefits on academic outcomes (Thomas and Collier, 2012; Steele, et al., 2015) and prepares students for bilingualism, biliteracy, and enhanced awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity (Thomas and Collier, 2012; Massachusetts Association of Bilingual Educators).  
 
On the decision to implement Dual Language Mayor McCarthy said, “The dual language program gives all students the opportunity to achieve educational excellence.  I would like to thank member Kaytie Dowcett, Dr. Echelson and the entire Committee who worked tirelessly to design the program.”
 
School Committee member Kaytie Dowcett, a member of the Dual Language planning committee, who made the motion to accept the district recommendation for dual language shared, “This is an exciting opportunity to build community among a diverse student body through linguistic and cultural exchange in the classroom, all while maintaining high academic standards. More and more communities across the country are recognizing the value of Dual Language programs in preparing students for global citizenship, and I am thrilled to be able to count Waltham among them.”
 
Superintendent Drew Echelson added, “For many families in our community dual language immersion is a dream come true. I want to applaud the work of the dual language planning committee and appreciate their time, dedication and commitment to high-quality and innovative programming in Waltham. We will grow this into a program that fundamentally changes the game and increases educational opportunity for students in our great city.”  
 
Waltham Public School administrators will host a series of community forums throughout the city to educate the community on the benefits of dual language immersion, answer questions, learn how to register for a chance to be in the program and to discuss: program model, size of program, selection process, and location.  Parents/guardians should feel free to attend a meeting at any one of the following locations.  While open to all, these meetings will be most appropriate for incoming kindergarten families. 
 
Upcoming community forums are scheduled as follows:
 
  • Wednesday, October 28, 2015 7:00 p.m.     Stanley Elementary School Cafeteria
  • Tuesday, November 17, 2015 7:00 p.m.     Whittemore Elementary School Cafeteria
  • Thursday, November 19, 2015 7:00 p.m.     MacArthur Elementary School Cafeteria
  • Wednesday, December 9, 2015 7:00 p.m.     Northeast Elementary School Cafeteria