Spanish Language Immersion Program
SPLASH! @ Bethany Elementary - 336.951.2710
SPLASH! @ Stoneville Elementary - 336.445.1999
What is language immersion education (SPLASH!)?
The focus of language immersion programs is to help students become proficient in a target language while mastering subject content from other disciplines. In immersion programs language is not taught as a subject; it is the medium in which core instruction is delivered. Research shows the most effective way for children to acquire a second language is to integrate instruction into the standard curriculum children are already learning. Research shows that immersion education students outperform students in traditional language classes, do as well as or better than non-immersion students on standardized tests, and have a greater appreciation of cultural diversity. SPLASH! is the name of the language immersion program in Rockingham County.
* Para la versión en español, haga clic en la bandera española que se encuentra en la esquina inferior derecha de la página de Internet.
What languages can my child learn?
Spanish immersion programs are available in Rockingham County.
What does the SPLASH! program look like?
The language model in a given setting and the term used to describe it are ultimately dictated by the population being served by the program. The two models you will currently find in SPLASH! programs are described by the North Carolina Department of Instruction (NCDPI) as follows:
Full Immersion Programs (Bethany and Stoneville kindergarten): These programs serve native speakers of English in an environment where Spanish is used exclusively. Content is delivered in Spanish. English Language Arts is introduced around grade 2 or later. The students become bilingual, bi-literate, and bicultural and are equally proficient in both languages with near-native fluency in the target language.
Two-Way Immersion Programs (Stoneville): These programs group native speakers of English with native speakers of the target language. The mix is approximately 50% of each group and both become bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural. Instruction is provided both in English and in Spanish.
Where are the SPLASH! Programs located?
Language immersion programs in Rockingham County began in 2014-2015. Bethany Elementary has a Full-Immersion program and Stoneville Elementary School has a Dual Immersion program. Stoneville Elementary School will have a Full Immersion kindergarten class in 2018-2019. These programs are open to all students in Rockingham County.
Isn’t kindergarten too young? Transitioning my 5 year old to school is hard enough. Why would I make it harder?
You’re right. Starting school is a transition, especially for those who have not had pre-school experiences already. Learning to go to school, to understand school procedures and routines, is a transition, but it can happen in any language. The high use of props, puppets, and gestures at this early age benefits language learning. When you watch your five year old responding to her kindergarten teacher’s instructions and conversing with her classmates in another language you will understand the possibilities.
Is an immersion program only appropriate for really high performing students?
Research shows that immersion education can be effective for a wide variety of learners, including academically/intellectually gifted students, non-native English speakers, students with many special education needs and socio-economic challenges.
My child will be in 2nd grade next year. Can she join the immersion program?
Currently, language immersion programs are available for rising kindergarten and first grade students.
Rising kindergartners may apply for full immersion program at Bethany Elementary School and Stoneville Elementary School. Rising first graders may apply for the full immersion program at Bethany Elementary School.
How does the admissions and application process work?
Parents of new kindergarten children will go through the standard kindergarten registration process at their school and complete the SPLASH! Program application. Applications may also be obtained by clicking “SPLASH! Application” on the left-side navigation menu. Students will be selected by lottery from all applications received by 2019-20 dates TBD. If a student is not selected, he/she will be placed on the waiting list. For applications received after 2019-20 dates TBD, students will be placed on the waiting list in the order received. If applying for more than one child, please complete a separate application for each child. After the close of the enrollment period, schools will continue to accept applications. If there is not space available, the prospective student will be put on the waiting list.
Where do I turn in my application?
Please submit all applications to:
511 Harrington Highway
Eden, NC 27288
What if my child doesn’t respond well or doesn’t like it?
Like any kindergarten child, your child will be tired at the end of the school day. It’s tough work to play hard and stick to all those school rules. It’s even more exhausting when you are processing a new language. So don’t be surprised if your child is tired and cranky after school. If you are worried your child is not enjoying school or thriving in the immersion environment, talk to your teacher and principal. Most kids respond well to joining an immersion program - they are made to feel secure right from the start and, after a few days, they do not focus on the fact that the teacher is not speaking English. Parents should give it at least 9 weeks, if not a full semester, to see if the child responds better after just getting through the transition of being in school.
Will my child be able to speak English in class until she learns enough vocabulary to communicate?
In kindergarten you will often hear children speaking or responding to teachers in English. However, their teachers will be speaking only in the target language to them, using a lot of gestures and props to convey the messages. Good immersion teachers will encourage new language learners to respond in the target language by giving them the needed vocabulary to mimic. Good immersion teachers will not revert to English, unless safety or emergency necessitates. Good immersion teachers, by the middle of first grade, will insist on NO ENGLISH in the immersion classroom. Students will quickly realize an easy way out if they are able to speak any English (except in emergencies) with their teacher. Don’t be surprised if your child thinks her teacher does not know any English!
Will my child take state mandated assessment, like the EOGs, in the foreign language?
No. All state mandated assessments, like the EOGs, will be taken in English.
My child is in a full immersion program, so how will he learn the English skills he needs to be successful on EOGs and other assessments in English?
In a full immersion program, your child will get dedicated English Language Arts instruction beginning in 2nd grade. In grade 2, immersion students receive about an hour of English Language Arts daily. This time increases to 75 – 90 minutes in grades 3-5. Literacy skills & patterns learned in one language will help the development of skills in another language.
I don’t speak another language; will I be able to help my child at home?
The most important thing you can do at home is read to your child in English. Read and ask questions. Reading in any language supports the acquisition of reading skills such as fluency, vocabulary building, comprehension, etc. Your child’s homework should support what he has learned in class. Students should be able to tackle the assignment on their own. Parents will be able to identify what skill is being addressed and support your child’s learning in the skill, even if you can only help in English. Homework should not be a struggle! If it is, please talk with your child’s teacher. The good news:You don’t have to know the language to support your child at home.
What else can I do to help?
There is a lot you can do. Be a strong parent advocate. Start an immersion parent group – to support each other, educate each other, share successes and challenges and ideas to make the program outstanding at your school. Recruit for your school. Spread the word. Tell all your friends what you know about the program. Post it on your Facebook wall. It will be important for the health of the program at your child’s school to maintain healthy numbers in the immersion classrooms. Your school should have a healthy wait-list at all times so that any vacancies are immediately filled. Fundraise for a bilingual library. A school can never have enough Spanish books. Host a holiday book drive. Purchase books for the classroom or school library and encourage other parents to do the same.
Also, check in with your teacher regarding volunteer activities. It is important that volunteers maintain the “no English in the immersion classroom” rule to prevent inconsistent practices and to build the children’s confidence that they can learn to understand in the immersion language. We don’t want adult visitors or volunteers to send the message that speaking English is an option in the immersion classroom. Here are some ideas for volunteers who do not speak the immersion language:
Select activities and games where a volunteer may be able to help in the classroom using only non-verbal communication.
Provide tasks that can be completed outside of the classroom, such as materials preparation, bulletin board preparation, newsletter formatting, etc.
After English instruction has been introduced, suggest one-on-one or small group tutoring (after school) for children struggling with English language arts concepts
What happens in middle and high school, after completing an elementary immersion program?
Many elementary immersion programs expand to a continuing immersion program for middle school, where most classes will be in English. Middle school students continuing with immersion studies will generally take 1 or 2 classes of content-based language instruction to maintain the language skills already developed in total or two-way immersion programs and to further develop them to as high a degree as possible.
Please return completed application(s) by 2019-20 dates TBD to:
RCS Central Office
511 Harrington Highway
Eden, NC 27288