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Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on February 1st, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 48 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 17, Issue 48

Jimenez gears up for third year of dual language immersion program

By BRENNA SWANSTON

Jimenez Elementary School will hold meetings for parents interested in enrolling their incoming kindergarteners in dual language immersion classes. The informational meetings are scheduled for Feb. 22, March 22, and April 26, each at 6 p.m. at the school district office.

Jimenez's dual language immersion program—the only one of its kind in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District—teaches its students to read, write, speak, listen, and think in both English and Spanish. The 2017-2018 school year will mark the program's third year at Jimenez.

The dual language immersion program begins with kindergarten, when teachers conduct 90 percent of class in Spanish and 10 percent in English. The ratio incrementally evens out as the students move up in grades.

Principal Richard Ruiz told the Sun in a previous interview that Jimenez's dual language program has been a hit so far.

"We have our English-only kids who are now speaking Spanish, and we have our English learners who continue to speak Spanish and master the Spanish language," Ruiz said. "It's a wonderful opportunity for all kids, and it's going very well."

He added that the program has cultural benefits, as well.

"Not only do you learn a second language, but you learn the culture of that language so you become more accepting of other cultures," Ruiz said. "Sometimes we become more closed-minded about different cultures because we don't know them. But it's fear that hinders us."

The program has limited space and is only open to incoming kindergarten students. Eligible students do not have to live in the Jimenez Elementary School boundaries, but parent attendance is required at one of the informational meetings in order for a student to be eligible.

The school district office is located at 708 South Miller St., and the meetings will be held in both English and Spanish.




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