District 41 has approved a Dual Language and Foreign Language at the Elementary School language instruction program for its elementary students.
The Glen Ellyn School District 41 Board of Education approved the measure during its business meeting Monday night. The approval means that the district will begin phasing in foreign language instruction to students in the 2013-14 school year.
The district is incorporating two forms of foreign language instruction: Dual Language, an immersion program and Foreign Language at the Elementary School (FLES).
“I am in support of this,” Board Member John Kenwood said. “I am a big fan of doing this. We need to push how we divergently think more.”
The Dual Language program will be implemented at Churchill Elementary School in 2013-14 beginning with the kindergarten class.
In the Dual Language program students are taught in a combination of the first and second languages through content instruction. And, literacy skills are taught in both languages, according to the district. The program combines English speakers with native speakers of the chosen language, which is Spanish.
The Foreign Language at the Elementary School program will be incorporated in all four elementary schools, beginning with the first grade. In the FLES program students will receive foreign language instruction daily for 30 minutes, which leads to greater biliteracy, according to District 41.
The district began exploring a foreign language instruction program when it received a planning grant, according to the district. The planning and exploration for the program began in August 2011.
Costs for the Dual Language program are expected to be minimal because it will replace the district’s bilingual program. The total yearly cost is expected to be $42,500, according to district documents.
The FLES program will be implemented gradually and the expected cost over five years is approximately $2.26 million, according to district documents. The majority of the funding will go toward hiring additional full-time teachers with the language and teaching certifications needed for the program. The number of teachers hired increases over the course of the five years, with two FLES teachers the first year and 10 by year 5.
“The logic is very clear and it makes sense to me,” Board Member Sam Black said during discussion. “I am happy. I think we all are, that we are getting going [with the language program]. The benefits are, I think, more than we know. I am very excited for it and can’t wait to get started.”