- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2016

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) - Spanish classes in the Goshen elementary schools? One class begins this year.

“We have a wonderful community where Spanish is a flourishing language,” said Karen Blaha, director of English learner services for Goshen Community Schools.

As the first of potentially many Spanish immersion programs in Goshen elementary schools, West Goshen Elementary School has recently hired two Spanish teachers to teach its new specials program.

Part of the requirements for being in the International Baccalaureate for Primary Schools Candidacy program involved integrating Spanish into the curriculum. The school chose to do so through the use of an additional specials class, like physical education, art and music.

A Spanish teacher will come into the classroom for 45 minutes a week. Fluent Spanish speakers will separate from the rest of their classroom and go into an advanced Spanish class.

“We want them to become literate in their own dominant language,” said Lori Line, principal at West Goshen Elementary School.

Students in this class will not only speak Spanish, but they will learn to read and write it as well.

International Baccalaureate “research has shown that kids who know two languages become better problem solvers and critical thinkers,” Line explained.

West Goshen Elementary School isn’t the only school in the district working toward incorporating Spanish into the curriculum, though.

“We want to influence our kids to understand different cultures and ethnicities,” Line said.

Recently, Waterford Elementary School also received a grant in May to help implement a Dual Language Two Way Immersion program. The pilot class, which is expected to begin in the 2017-2018 school year, will be taught in 50 percent English and 50 percent Spanish.

Currently, the school is considering providing two teachers for the classroom - one to teach the English portion and one to teach the Spanish portion.

As this year is one of research, planning is still taking place. Administrators plan to travel to Illinois, Michigan and parts of Indiana for observation and training, along with attending training at the Center for Applied Linguistics.

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Source: The Elkhart Truth, https://bit.ly/2aPyIrq

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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