May 30, 2011

Good News in Massachusetts: Spanish Immersion Program Graduates First Class


Mendon-Upton's Spanish immersion program graduates first class
By Julie Balise
May 22, 2011

Ashley Hill says she has an edge when looking for a new job: her ability to speak both English and Spanish fluently.

Hill's journey through learning Spanish actually began 13 years ago, when then-Spanish teacher Joan Scribner did a presentation for parents of the Class of 2011 as their children entered kindergarten. Scribner was co-founding the Spanish immersion program in Mendon-Upton after researching similar methods in Maryland and Holliston, where a French immersion program was already under way.

With the immersion program, students follow Massachusetts curriculum, but they learn in Spanish only from kindergarten through second grade. In third grade, 80 percent of class is taught in Spanish, then 60 percent in fourth grade.

Despite learning so much Spanish at a young age, the students still perform as well or better than other students on English standardized tests, said Vincent Rozen, principal of the Henry P. Clough Elementary School in Mendon.

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