Clarke School Administrators and staff have designed and will implement a curriculum adjustment for language acquisition for elementary students, starting in the 2024-25 school year. These adjustments will give parents and their students the option to enroll in a hybrid English-Spanish curriculum focused on bilingual language and literacy acquisition.  This opportunity is for both students who are native English speakers and students who have a native language other than English (English Language Learners).

Clarke Schools’ dual-language program will be offered to incoming students in kindergarten and first grade for the 2024-2025 school year. Currently, ELL students receive language services approximately 30 minutes a day and there is no option for English-speaking students to learn Spanish until exploratory classes in Middle School. With the demographics of Clarke Schools students and community being 54-56% Spanish speaking, the administrators and staff chose to make the move to not only help those new to the English language but also offer more expansive language and educational opportunities to native English-speaking students.

From a study conducted by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program out of Washington D.C., “The effects of bilingual education on reading and math achievement were examined by comparing test scores across different elementary-school programs. Results revealed that bilingual two-way immersion programs benefited both minority-language and majority-language students.”

dual language programming at Clarke Community Schools OSceola Iowa

Click image to open.

The adjusted classroom structure will consist of two classrooms dedicated to providing dual-language curriculum. Participating students will receive instruction for a half day in English and a half day in Spanish. A bilingual informational meeting will be held on Thursday, May 2, at 3:00 PM and 5:30 PM in the elementary cafeteria. Families with students entering kindergarten or first grade are encouraged to attend to learn more. All families are being asked to complete a form by May 20 sharing their level of interest in their child participating in the program. If over 40 students per grade express interest in participating, the students’ names will be drawn for the upcoming 2024-25 school year. (Click the image to open/download an informational flyer in both English and Spanish)

“This is not limited to ELL students,” said Jen Adams-Potter, Director of Special Services at Clarke Community School District. “We know the value of bilingualism, in education, employability, and in our community. We want to encourage our students to develop these skills as early as possible.”

The drawing for the 2024-25 school year will select 40 students for the incoming kindergarten and incoming first-grade classes to participate in the dual-language program. The English-Spanish daily structure for those students will then follow them through their attendance at Clarke, from kindergarten through graduation. Each year a new class will be added to the dual-language model until the program is implemented through 12th grade. Today, administrators are excited about implementing the model for the kindergarten and first-grade classes and looking at possibilities for second grade.

“The changes being made utilize current staff and resources more efficiently to address our growing need for dual language programming,” said Kurt DeVore, Clarke Schools Superintendent. “We believe the adjustments will better serve the Clarke students, our families, and the community as a whole, and provide lifelong opportunities for our students now and following graduation.”

Families interested in learning more, or those who have questions about the adjusted dual-language programming should reach out to Jen Adams-Potter, Clarke Community School’s Director of Special Services, through the district office at 802 N Jackson St, Osceola, IA 50213, or phone: (641) 342-4969.

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