Kindergarten and first-grade students have had much of their math instruction delivered in Spanish. This year they will return to taking math classes in Spanish every day as well as an additional Spanish as a Second Language block. Having math in Spanish is an immersion strategy whereby students have the opportunity to learn math through a second language. It is cognitively challenging for students whose first language is not Spanish and still challenging for students whose first language is Spanish. By second grade, students learn math in English and continue with Spanish as a Second Language instruction daily through Grade 8. Research clearly demonstrates that aptitude for second language acquisition is much greater the younger you are. Suzanne Robin, author of “ Why is it Easier for a Child to Learn a New Language Than an Adult?” writes: Not only do children grow and develop at extraordinary paces, but they learn information quickly as well. A child who is exposed to multiple languages at a young age has a much easier time processing and remembering the information they received.Ultimately, our goal is for students to enter high school eligible for Advanced Placement Spanish classes. These classes are taught in Spanish and, should students pass the final exam with a high mark, it is possible that these classes will also give them college credit for foreign languages. TRCS has now graduated two 8th grade classes. In last year’s class, many were placed in Spanish 2 at the high school. The incoming 9th graders, will be placed in Spanish 1, 2, and 3 depending on a placement test TRCS provides in the Spring.
DSC_0475or interest in higher levels of Spanish, and student self-assessment after visiting the high school and auditing a class at higher levels. Once they enter these classes, they will have to do the hard work to pass; we have confidence they will. For the 2018/2019 school year, all four of our K/1 teachers are bilingual AND we will have a three person full time Spanish teaching staff for the rest of our student body. We will offer three classes of Spanish: 1, 2 and 3 designed around the World Languages Standards. There will be a Spanish block for grades 6-8 in the morning and a Spanish block for grades 2-5 in the afternoon. Students will be placed in the class for which they demonstrate readiness.
When we started the school in 2014, we consciously chose Movement and Spanish as our two special areas. We addressed art and music through our own enrichment cycle and after-school programs. Students continue to participate in formal Movement classes at least twice a week and Spanish every day. Now that we have the new building, we have the space to add Art/Maker Space. Maker Space is a class that incorporates art but may also include multiple other disciplines like technology, building, etc. Students in grades 1-6 will regularly participate in Maker Space. The goal is to integrate Maker Space projects with projects connected to PBL. For example, grades 5 and 6 will be studying the Aztecs one trimester this year and will be asked to create an original piece of art through Maker Space based on their study of Diego Rivera and his paintings of this culture. Grades 7 and 8 will also have regular Maker Space time and will work with their PBL teacher (s) during this time on projects directly linked to PBL. Teachers are excited to have this opportunity to delve more deeply into content through Maker Space. Our new building has a FABULOUS Maker Space room designed intentionally for this purpose that includes a kiln and outdoor deck. When we are fully built out, we plan to include music as a regular special.