Dual Language in Urbana School District
Dual Language is a bilingual education program that integrates native Spanish speaking students with native English speaking students for instruction in and through two languages (Spanish AND English). The program includes equal numbers of two groups of students: native English speakers and native Spanish speakers (50% of each language group, or 33% minimum of one group). Students spend part of the school day learning in their native language and part of the day learning in their non-native language.
Students in dual language programs develop high-levels of proficiency in their own language as well as a second language. The benefits of balanced bilingualism allow for creativity and problem solving, greater cross-cultural understanding, and marketability for future college and career goals in a bilingual and multilingual society.
The schools where the Dual Language programs are located are Leal Elementary School (Spanish/English) and Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr. Elementary School (Spanish/English). The program will follow the students in the dual language classes at these schools through 5th grade to create Dual Language for K-5 by 2016-2017. The Dual Language program will be completely voluntary, therefore Dual Language will be for those who choose to enroll in the program.
Dual Language Application and Brochures
- Dual Language Application for 2017-2018 School Year (PDF)
- Dual Language Programs – Brochure (English)
- Programas de Lenguaje Dual – Brochure (Español)
- Dual Language Committee Information – 90/10 Dual Language Program Model
Current highlights and updates related to Dual Language in USD 116:
- NPR Reporter Dusty Rhodes story about DL program from December 2016: Urbana Dual Language program draws wait list
- WCIA’s CI Living story from January 2016: Language Learning Transformed in Urbana
How are students currently doing in the Dual Language program? Current assessment data suggest the following:
- Dual language students of all racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds, on average, are on par or outperforming district averages of students in English only classrooms.
- Students are developing bilingual/biliterate skills
- Students are achieving well academically in both languages
- While we do see varying levels of oral language fluency in both languages based on the students’ native language, we are not seeing substantial achievement differences/gaps across racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups of students.
- Dual language students are interacting and developing cross-cultural, cross-racial, and cross-linguistic relationships like we have never seen before.
Please see the following presentation that was presented to the Board of Education in December of 2013.
Due to the success of our Spanish/English dual language programs, we are now in the process of pursing Mandarin Chinese/English dual language programs. Please see below for updated information related to Chinese dual language in USD 116.
- Expanding Dual Language PDF presentation (Feb. 2014)
- Minutes from first Chinese advisory meeting (2014 Feb. 14)
2017 Foro sobre el Programa de Lenguaje Dual para padres / Dual Language Parent Forums
If you are interested in learning more about the dual language programs available for kindergarten and first grade students at Leal and Dr. Williams Elementary schools for the 2016-2017 school year, please join us for the Dual Language Parent Forums.
What to expect:
- Information about dual language program model and enrollment procedures
- Information about dual language program research and student achievement
- Testimonials from people who are currently involved in our dual language programs, including current parents and teachers
- Applications for enrollment will be available
Childcare will be provided for both forums
Tuesday, March 28
Forum: 6:00 p.m.
Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr. Elementary School
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Forum: 6:00 p.m.
Leal Elementary School
- Dual Language Parent Forums – English flyer
- Foro sobre el Programa de Lenguaje Dual para padres – folleto español
Dual Language video presented to the Urbana Board of Education on 5 February 2013
Why Dual Language?
- Dual language programs have a track record of success, and an established network of experienced practitioners to support implementation. Here is a link to the National Dual Language Consortium, a resource group for Dual Language practitioners: http://www.dual-language.org
- The Center for Applied Linguistics provides program implementation resources for practitioners. This link provides documentation on how Dual Language programs have have been implemented and assessed across the United States. http://www.cal.org/topics/fl/immersion.html
- This study speaks to the question of whether or not dual language programs detract from or build onto the core curriculum. In other words, if a student is learning two languages at once, how do they fare in the core subjects?A quote from the article: “Native English speakers who are already on grade level can exceed the achievement of their monolingually educated peers. And through the cognitive stimulus of schooling in two languages, which leads to enhanced creativity and analytical thinking, native English speakers who are lagging behind academically receive the accelerated instruction necessary to close the achievement gap. All student groups in dual-language classes benefit from meaningful, challenging, and accelerated—not remedial—instruction (Baker, 2001).
- A cognitive neuroscientist, Ellen Bialystok has spent almost 40 years learning about how bilingualism sharpens the mind. Her good news: Among other benefits, the regular use of two languages appears to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/science/31conversation.html?_r=1
- Thomas and Collier’s newest research on the success of DL programs in North Carolina: http://esl.ncwiseowl.org/resources/dual_language
- Momentum builds for Dual Language learning–Experts say the interest in dual-language programs now is driven by an increased demand for bilingual and biliterate workers and by educators who see positive impacts on academic achievement for both English-learners and students already fluent in English: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/03/23/26duallanguage_ep.h31.html?tkn=SVRFiB%2BHyniCxugGb6XDd7Fwu6eYTyd1p%2FQd&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1