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Lake Elmo adds immersion program this fall

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Kindergartners Ella Coles and Teddy Hanawalt work on their math problems in their spanish immersion class. “I love spanish immersion school; I don’t speak spanish but kind of,” explains Coles.

Lake Elmo Elementary is adding an exciting new addition in the fall of 2018: a Spanish Immersion program is being introduced to the district for kindergarteners.  

This is our first year beginning with kindergarten. Every year we will offer immersion to incoming kindergarten students… The program will expand into middle school and various opportunities will be provided in high school.”

— Rachel Larson

This is a dual program, with native Spanish and English speakers. They are doing this because it gives kids more opportunities for international matters, helps with problem solving, and more.

With a growing number of Spanish speakers in the United States, being fluent in multiple languages is helpful for many things. Larson said,“We already have families from outside of our district wanting to attend our program. Immersion education is very popular and the demand is increasing,” Day to day communication with people who speak English or Spanish becomes easier for bilingual people. In the future, students will likely be able to handle international business better; people who are bilingual also have an advantage when it comes to the job search.

Spanish Immersion starting at a young age such as kindergarten is also beneficial because children have been proven to learn languages faster than adults. To start, the students will spend about 80 percent of their day learning content in Spanish. As they progress through elementary school, the balance of Spanish to English will become closer to 50 percent each.

There are several educational benefits to a Spanish Immersion program. It can improve mental flexibility, given that learning two languages at once is difficult. An example of this is how the students may take a math or history class taught in entirely Spanish. The program helps with pattern recognition, noticing patterns within the languages. Also, it can be helpful with problem solving.

As many positives have come to mind, there are also downsides to a program like this. “Right now a con to the program is that there is a waiting list and not everyone who wants to be in the program can be,” said Larson. It can also be a very difficult process for students, taking much focus and effort in order to succeed.

Larson added, “I feel so fortunate to work in a community and district where language and cultural diversity is celebrated, welcomed, and prioritized. Our students deserve the opportunity to become bilingual and expand their worldview.”

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About the Writer
Kate Poor, Distribution Reporter

Kate Poor is a junior and a Distribution Reporter for the Pony Express. She writes in the News and Activities department. Kate runs Cross Country and enjoys snowboarding in the winter. A fun fact about herself is that she likes to travel and has been to almost every state in the US.

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12 Comments

12 Responses to “Lake Elmo adds immersion program this fall”

  1. Chloe Squires on December 6th, 2017 6:05 pm

    I love this article because it was very informational and full of quotes. I didn’t know that immersion schools have grown so much in popularity! Good balance of facts and support.

  2. Malaina Fragnito on December 12th, 2017 9:43 pm

    I think its cool that our district is recognizing the growing demand for bilingual people in the work force. America is one o fate only countries that doesn’t require a foreign language as part of their curriculum but I think programs like these can give students many more opportunities. Very informative on what the school is and how it can impact students. Good job!

  3. Mikayla Cousineau on December 16th, 2017 4:33 pm

    I thought that the links in the article were a great way to allow readers to learn more about the operation and impacts of immersion schools. The quotes from the primary source were a great way of integrating more factual information, and it was also cool to see that the cons of the program were also addressed. I think it would have been fun to read more quotes about what the students thought of the new program, as it was fun to see the pictures of them in the class environment and they are the ones that will experience the greatest impacts of this change.

  4. Luke Higgins on December 17th, 2017 2:13 pm

    This article was super interesting to read, it made me wish I had that opportunity as a kid. It is very informational and very well written, great job!

  5. William Gleason on December 17th, 2017 8:07 pm

    Great job on your article! Quotes were used well and enhanced the reading. Good data in your article as well, I didn’t realize there was such a demand for immersion programs. I believe that the addition of the immersion program is a great idea because if kids start learning different languages at a young age, it has the possibility to open up different jobs for them in the future.

  6. Linnea Phillips on December 17th, 2017 8:28 pm

    Great organization of the article. Quotes are factual and interesting, they add an aspect of knowledge to the article that only could have come from people within the school. Overall well written, factual, and interesting. Great job!

  7. Sophia Jensen on December 17th, 2017 9:40 pm

    It’s great that the community is trying to expand cultural and language diversity. Spanish immersion will be very beneficial as the years pass since it will integrate into more sections of schools.

  8. Abby Banks on December 18th, 2017 8:02 am

    I love this article. Quotes were great, the alt. copy story is strong. Those pictures look so amazing honestly, those kids are so cute! I also like all the information provided in the fact paragraphs; they weren’t just reiterating what was said in the quotes. The article had great flow, but we could gain a bit in terms of separating out paragraphs to keep them bite-sized for the reader. Overall, great job!

  9. Jack Seipel on December 18th, 2017 8:18 am

    This is an awesome article, because you can tell that there was a lot of research put into it. There were many informative facts, like how you said that the kindergarteners are more apt to learn a new language than adults. Way to show the changing community in a flowing, right to the point way.

  10. James Stahl on December 18th, 2017 7:00 pm

    This article was very informative and taught me aspects of this program that I would not have known without reading this. The quotes from the teachers were really good and gave a whole different perspective on the topic. Only negative I found in this article was that I thought it could have used better word choice

  11. Rose Junko on December 18th, 2017 10:29 pm

    I really like this article! Great job with in-depth quotes that are meaningful and add something to your story. Overall, your article is well-written and very interesting!

  12. Ellie Fedorowski on January 19th, 2018 9:22 am

    I enjoyed reading the growth for bilingual people in the community. Programs that are introducing new language learning can give students many more opportunities and language diversity. Very amazing quotes and information!

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