As its bilingual student enrollment skyrockets, Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 is arranging to expand its dual- language program.
The school board gave a preliminary nod Thursday to the addition of a new dual-language kindergarten program at Enders-Salk Elementary School in Schaumburg, starting this fall.
The program will be the same as the dual-language program that’s been at MacArthur Elementary School in Hoffman Estates for the past six years.
Enders-Salk parents will still have the option of enrolling their children in the traditional kindergarten, district officials said.
The dual-language program aims not just to teach Spanish- speaking children English, but to teach a second language to English-speaking students.
Already, 22 parents of English-speaking students have inquired about enrolling their child in Enders-Salk’s program, said Ed Rafferty, assistant superintendent of special services.
Unlike bilingual classes, dual-language classes are made up of 50 percent English-speaking students and 50 percent Spanish- speaking students. However, Spanish is used during 80 percent of the teaching time. That percentage gradually decreases as the students move up the grade levels. By the time they reach junior high, they should be fluent in the other language.
Enders-Salk was targeted for the program because more than 200 of its 520 students speak Spanish, Principal Lillian Mosier said.
This year alone at Enders-Salk, 30 new bilingual students enrolled. Districtwide, more than 140 new students entered bilingual programs this year, Rafferty said.
“And it’s going to continue to grow,” he said, noting that District 54 now provides bilingual services in 25 languages.
No additional funds are needed to expand the dual-language program, Rafferty said.
School board members were pleased to see the launch of another dual-language program.
“It would be great if we could implement this program in every one of our schools,” board member Kerry Waser said.