August 11, 2013

Miami High School Offers Dual Language Program in Haitian Creole


Edison High offers dual-language program in English, Creole
by Patricia Mazzei
August 5, 2013

The teachers at Miami Edison Senior High School had a challenge on their hands.

Students recently arrived from Haiti and fluent in Haitian Creole were having trouble with assignments and exams — not because they didn’t grasp the material, but because they were still learning English.

So Pablo Ortiz, Edison’s former top administrator, came up with a plan: Let the students speak in Creole. A dual-language program was born.

Unlike foreign-language programs in other schools, where students fluent in English learn Mandarin Chinese or Portuguese to pick up a second language, Edison’s Creole experiment grew out of necessity. It is directed at selected students who might fall behind if they take classes only in English — but who may thrive if they’re given the chance to express what they know in their native language.

Administrators have seen such an improvement in students in the program that they have decided to expand it to include incoming 9th graders. The rising 10th graders who participated last year will remain as a group and take classes together.

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