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Towson, MD - With globe-shaped trophies in hand, Baltimore County Public Schools administrators surprised principals at 10 elementary schools yesterday with the news that their schools have been selected to pilot a Spanish language instruction program for Grade 4 students.
Beginning next school year, Bear Creek, Hampton, Johnnycake, Padonia, Pleasant Plains, Prettyboy, Reisterstown, Sussex, Vincent Farm and West Towson elementary schools will teach Spanish language. The school system plan is to expand the program to Grade 4 students in all elementary schools by 2015-2016.
“Expanding world languages instruction will help us reach our goal of graduating globally competitive students,” said S. Dallas Dance, BCPS superintendent. “Research tells us that being proficient in more than one language provides a competitive career advantage, promotes cultural understanding and improves achievement on comprehensive standardized tests.”
“The 10 selected schools are located throughout Baltimore County, and the review panel took great care to identify a cadre ofschools that truly represent the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of our school system,” said Brian Schiffer, BCPS director of social sciences, fine arts, and world languages.
Pilot schools were chosen from among 31 elementary schools that initially expressed interest. The selection process included applications, surveys of teacher interest and a review panel.
In addition to their trophies, the principals and their Grade 4 teachers received formal invitations to an Elementary World Languages Pilot Reception to be held on June 9 at Cockeysville Middle School.
Students at the pilot schools will use Middlebury Interactive, a research-based, interactive, self-paced program developed by Middlebury College and Middlebury Interactive Languages. The course focuses on listening and speaking; language instruction will also include weekly conversational lessons taught by a BCPS elementary Spanish teacher.
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