North Carolina is home to prestigious universities as well as exceptional K-12 education. From private schools to public schools, North Carolina education is premier. Schools within the Triangle region constantly rank high on national lists, such as U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools List. Contributing to these high marks are the dual language immersion programs that have been implemented locally and across the state.
U.S. News & World, in the past, has partnered with Research Triangle Park-based RTI (Research Triangle Institute) International to analyze school data. Just last year in 2016, 15 Triangle area schools were included on the Best High Schools list. What’s more is that East Chapel Hill High, Carborro High, and Jordan Matthews High all made that list. This just goes to show North Carolina is committed to pursuing academic excellence, and preparing students for successful careers. North Carolina is serious about education, and raising the bar.
Raising the bar means providing “global education” that prepares students for the close-knit global community they will enter. Now, North Carolina schools aim to expand and deepen dual-language immersion programs throughout the state. Currently, there are over 120 programs within the state that offer dual-language immersion programs.
Dual Language Immersion
Developed over the last two decades, dual language immersion programs in North Carolina have only evolved. The focus of these programs is on encouraging and helping students to become proficient in a language other than English. Combining a secondary language (target language) with traditional education helps students master subjects in both languages. Research done by the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction shows that dual language programs:
- Help students develop proficiency in their target language, as well as in English
- Academic performance of these students hovers at, or above, grade level
- Participants in dual-language programs demonstrate positive behaviors with cross-cultural attitudes
Schools all over the state are benefiting from dual-language immersion programs, from Charlotte to Chapel Hill. In fact, Jordan Matthews High School, which made the list of Best High Schools in 2016, provides dual-language immersion programs for students. So what does a dual-language immersion program look like?
There are four models of programs existing in North Carolina: developmental bilingual, full immersion, partial immersion, and the two-way model as well. Each model works to benefit the students of the school in particular. Which is to say, for example, the full immersion model works with mostly native-English speakers where their target language is used consistently, and constantly. Subject matter is provided in the target language. Incredible, right?
In the programs offered in North Carolina, there are seven languages offered. These languages include Cherokee, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Spanish, and Japanese.
Programs in the Triangle
Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools
- Carborro Elementary offers Spanish
- Culbreth Middle School offers Spanish
- Frank Porter Graham Bilingual School offers Spanish
- Glenwood Elementary School offers Chinese
- McDougle Middle School offers Spanish and Chinese
- Chapel Hill High School offers Spanish and Chinese
- Chatham Middle School offers Spanish
- Jordan-Matthews High School offers Spanish
- North Chatham Elementary offers Spanish
- Siler City Elementary offers Spanish
Durham Public Schools
- Southwest Elementary offers Spanish
Wake County Public School System
- Hodge Road Elementary School offers Spanish
- Jeffreys Grove Elementary offers Spanish
- Stough Magnet Elementary offers Chinese
If these programs interest you, here is a directory of program officials you can contact for further information on general topics, enrollment, or in-person meetings.
Deeper learning promoted by dual-language immersion programs prepares students to succeed in a rapidly evolving world. The programs throughout the state report incredible academic achievement by students. Kindergarten teacher Jacqueline Saavedra explains why her school’s students consistently outperform other schools in the district. “I think it’s the cognitive power they build because they have learned to transfer from one language to the next. It raises their achievement in everything,” She says.
Assistant for global education in North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction reports, “They outperform their monolingual peers across the board.”
Chapel Hill and Carrboro City Schools are proud to offer dual-immersion programs. You can learn how to apply here.
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