May 1, 2013

Article: Scottsdale a Leader in World-language Instruction


Scottsdale a leader in world-language instruction
By Mary Beth Faller
April 25, 2013

Along with science and technology, schools nationwide have been pressed to add more world-language instruction to better prepare students for the global marketplace.

Many school districts, including Scottsdale, see world-language programs as a way to draw students. Last month, the district decided to transition Pueblo Elementary School into an all-immersion school, meaning that eventually, all the students in Grades preschool through 5 will spend half the day learning in Spanish.

Principal Art Velarde said the immersion program has proven so popular that it was no longer feasible to offer a non-immersion program.

“I only had 12 students in the conventional strand for kindergarten next year, and eight of those were there because they hoped to gain admission to the immersion program the next year,” Velarde said.

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, which helps schools set up programs, cites Utah as a model. A few years ago, Utah launched a statewide immersion program teaching Spanish, French, Portuguese and Mandarin, which has expanded to nearly 100 schools this year. The state spends about $600,000 a year on it.

Like Utah, Arizona schools also will have to depend on federal grant money to help pay for the specialized teachers.

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