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NRMS recruits for dual language program

Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools are actively working to recruit students at four elementary schools for a new global learning opportunity.

A Dual Language/Immersion Program will be introduced during the 2017-2018 school year at Coopers Elementary, Bailey Elementary, Middlesex Elementary and Winstead Avenue Elementary Schools. As part of the Dual/Language Immersion program, the four sites would be considered Global Ready School sites.

The Dual Language/Immersion program uses two languages for literacy and content instruction. For the Nash-Rocky Mount Public School System, the language will be Spanish. The program will teach the grade level content in both Spanish and English and as a result, students will become bilingual and biliterate.

Each of the four school sites will begin the first year by designating one kindergarten class as the Dual Language Immersion class. Each year after that, a class will be added to the next grade level.

Twenty-six districts in North Carolina currently have language immersion programs, including Wake, Wilson and Edgecombe Counties.

According to Eddie Hicks, Director of Curriculum Support for the school system, a global ready school is one that thoughtfully and intentionally incorporates global content into the grade level curriculum. Students in a global school setting will gain superb knowledge of world geography and a greater understanding of many diverse peoples, civilizations and cultures.

Currently, Hicks said only students within the attendance zones of the four schools participating could enroll in the Dual Language/Immersion program. However, Hicks added, if there are slots available after June 1, students outside attendance zones will be eligible to apply.

"First, we're trying to recruit in our attendance zones," he said.

Hicks said so far, there has been an interest in the program, with around a dozen parents expressing interest.

"We've already had some very good responses so far," he said.

Hicks said during the first and second year, the primary language taught will be Spanish. He added that around 90 percent of what was taught would be in Spanish.

"That's a target," he said.

In the second grade, Hicks said it would decrease to around 70 percent, mainly to meet Read to Achieve goals.

By the fourth and fifth grade, Hicks said half of the class would be in Spanish and half in English.

Hicks said he's hopeful the program will be a success and said teaching foreign language at an early age has proven to be beneficial.

"Foreign language is a powerful academic tool," he said.

Staff in the four schools have also embraced the new program, Hicks said.

"It's a new learning opportunity for teachers and they're excited about that as well," he added. "We tried to make this a very school-based decision."

For more information about the Dual Language/Immersion Program, call 459-5220 or email elhicks@nrms.k12.nc.us.

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