ROCHELLE – The Rochelle Elementary School District is expanding its dual language program and accepting applications from families of students who are interested in participating for the fall 2020-21 school year.
The current dual language program serves kids in kindergarten, first, and second grades at Central School in Rochelle, but starting next fall it will also be offered for third-graders at Central School and kindergarteners at Lincoln School.
The successful program will gradually be implemented at all grade levels in both schools each year until ultimately being offered throughout the entire school.
The expansion of the program will allow for 50 students at each school for a total of 100 students being enrolled. The idea for the expansion came about when Central School classrooms were getting close to their maximum capacity and Lincoln School students had similar needs.
“Because we have had such a high demand and have been working at full capacity, students have been excluded due to those capacity limits. We saw that there was a need for additional programing at another building,” explained Idalia Marin, bilingual coordinator. “And given the fact that Lincoln houses the preschool program and also has a significant Spanish speaking student population, it made sense to expand our program to Lincoln School.”
The program is set up as a 50/50 two-way dual language model, which means that each classroom will have both a designated Spanish-speaking and English-speaking teacher.
While having the ability to speak two languages can be helpful in itself, there are also many other underlying benefits as well.
“This program gives students an additional tool, which is language, that they can use to make themselves marketable in the workforce. They can communicate and develop interpersonal relationships with speakers of other languages and there has also been documented health benefits to becoming bilingual because of the additional connections that are made within the brain,” added Marin
Officials at the school encourage all families, even those who are not dual language families to look into the program and its benefits.
The district is currently accepting applications from families of kids who are interested in being a part of the dual language program. The only restrictions are that the kids must be 5 years old, or turn 5 years old before Sept. 1 and live in the Rochelle area.
Applications can be found online at www.d231.rochelle.net, or paper copies can be acquired at either the Central or Lincoln school offices.