WCS Receives $17K Grant For Dual Language Immersion

Pictured are Sarah Wiggins, first-grade teacher at Leesburg Elementary, with Carolina Medina and Liam Acosta. Photo provided.

The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has announced the grant recipients of the Indiana Dual Language Immersion Pilot Program.

Warsaw Community Schools (WCS) has been selected to receive $17,000 in support of expanding Dual Language Immersion (DLI) to two new grade levels during the 2021-22 school year. At the start of the 2021-22 school year, Eisenhower Elementary School’s Spanish DLI program expanded to fifth grade and Leesburg Elementary expanded to third grade, according to a news release from WCS.

IDOE provided grants to school corporations that established or expanded dual language immersion programs in Mandarin, Spanish, French, or other languages approved by IDOE. Those programs must begin in either kindergarten or first grade and use an instructional model that provides at least 50% of its instruction in a target language and the remaining percentage of instructional time in English. For the 2021- 22 school year, WCS was among 15 districts that received funds to expand their program.

WCS recently adopted the new 2021-25 strategic plan with a multitude of feedback from internal and external stakeholders including parents, students, staff and community members. Four strategic planning pillars were developed as a result: experience, empathy, adaptability and inclusivity. The Dual Language Immersion program offers a unique opportunity for students to acquire knowledge and skills surrounding each of these four pillars. To learn more about WCS’s strategic plan, visit www.warsawschools.org.

Warsaw Community Schools will be using Dual Language Immersion grant funds to administer the STAMP language proficiency exam to students in second through fifth grade at Eisenhower and Leesburg Elementary schools and to purchase classroom supplies to support the expansion of the additional grade levels.

Research shows that students in DLI programs gain a higher proficiency in the core curriculum and develop stronger skills in native and second languages than students in traditional programs. Dual Language Immersion also helps close achievement gaps for English language learners and students from diverse backgrounds.

“Our DLI program continues to exceed our expectations. Our students are receiving a truly immersive language experience that is shaping them to be students who will graduate high school with a level of language proficiency equivalent to that of a native speaker. We are so excited about the doors that this opens locally and globally for our students,” stated Crystal Kreider, DLI instructional coach.

“Dual immersion programs provide Hoosier students with a head start on developing important language and cultural knowledge that will help them thrive in today’s rapidly changing, global economy,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education. “Research shows when students begin these programs at an early age, they develop enhanced cognitive skills and also improve their performance in other academic areas, helping close achievement gaps and prepare students for additional pathways to lifelong success.”

Warsaw Schools is committed to using these funds to help develop bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural students through dual language immersion both now and in the future, stated the release.

To learn more about Dual Language Immersion at WCS, visit https://www.warsawschools.org/page/dual-language-immersion.