Dual language two-way students lead parent conferences

Cole Southall, a student in the Kindergarten Dual Language Two-Way Program at Carver Elementary reads in Spanish and in English for his parents Megan and Danny Southall. (Photo by Susan Passmore)

Students in Goose Creek CISD’s Kindergarten Dual Language Two-Way Program at Carver Elementary and Harlem Elementary showcased their skills for parents recently during Student-Led Conferences at both schools. They proudly showed parents the work in their folders as well as read in English and Spanish. Students even discussed their goals with their family members in attendance.

“Cole is reading in English and Spanish. They’re moving really fast,” said Megan Southhall, Cole’s mother.

Tylyr Richard said she could see how her son Levi was benefitting from the program.

“He’s speaking Spanish and trying to teach us,” she said.

Goose Creek CISD is piloting the classes this year at the two schools with teachers Wendy Madrid at Carver and Fabiola Avena at Harlem teaching the Spanish classes. Sandra Santos at Carver and Norma Dominguez at Harlem teach the English classes. The enriched educational model integrates native English speakers and native Spanish speaks in the same classroom to promote second language acquisition, high academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding.

Before the Student-Led Conferences, Dr. Pilar Moreno-Recio and the teachers explained the strategies they use to help the students learn, such as whole group activities using the Promethean Board, Writing in Action, Reading in Action and Guided Reading. Bilingual pairs work together to help each other understand what is being said, since only English is spoken in the English class and only Spanish is spoken in the Spanish class. This provides language support that allows the student to feel more comfortable working with the less-familiar language. Words and sentences in English are written in blue, while Spanish words and sentences are in green. Even though students participate in numerous activities every day, the routine stays the same, so they have adjusted to it, and it helps them learn the other language faster.

The students in the Dual Language Two-Way Program will move to first grade next year and follow the same model. The district is considering expanding the program to other campuses.

“At the end of the year, we will host another event with Student-Led Conferences, so that students can share their growth throughout kindergarten with their parents,” said Moreno-Recio.

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