Gwinnett schools offer kindergarten students chance to become bilingual

Gwinnett County schools offer dual language immersion beginning with kindergarten and building skills every year up to graduation. CONTRIBUTED

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Gwinnett County schools offer dual language immersion beginning with kindergarten and building skills every year up to graduation. CONTRIBUTED

As the world becomes smaller, the need for people who speak more than one language becomes more and more pressing. Giving Gwinnett County students an advantage in the workforce is major component of Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Dual Language Immersion program.

Registration is open through 3 p.m. May 10.

In DLI, students spend half of the school day learning in English and the other half learning content areas in the target language (Spanish or French). Through the program, students will develop proficiency in both English and a new language, while ensuring both academic achievement and intercultural competence. The program launches with kindergarten students, then builds by one grade level every year.

“We’re currently in our fourth year,” said Jon Valentine, director of Foreign Languages Curriculum and Instruction. “We’ll graduate our first class in 2028.”

He hopes the majority of the students take the AP Language test in 10th grade. This will show their proficiency in another language.

And even if the students don’t use their second language in the workforce, there are several benefits to the immersion program.

  • Cognitive benefits: Students are better equipped to focus on more than one task at a time.
  • Academic benefits: The average dual language immersion student performs better than mono-linguistic peers on standardized tests.
  • Social and economic benefits: Students are better able to work with diverse cultures, which is invaluable in the global workforce.

Rising kindergartners starting school in 2018–19 are eligible to register for the Spanish programs at AnnistownBaldwinBethesdaCamp CreekIvy CreekLevel Creek, and Meadowcreek elementary schools or the French program at Trip ES. The schools will accept transfers if available slots are not filled by students in the school zone and families provide transportation.

In addition to completing DLI registration paperwork, families should register for kindergarten.

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