General Immersion FAQs
What is Dual Immersion?
Dual immersion programs operate on the principle that a portion of the curriculum is presented in the second language. Under this type of program, the student may learn math and science in Spanish or French in the morning and learn mathematics and language arts in English in the afternoon.
Rock Hill School District has implemented a dual immersion program offered in select schools in Spanish and in French. In this type of program 50% of the instruction is provided in the immersion language. This percent remains constant throughout elementary school. Reading is taught in both the first and the second language. When feasible, each class has two teachers: one teaches in the first language and the other teaches in the second.
What are the goals of Dual Immersion?
The overall goals of the program are to develop students' communicative and academic proficiency in the target language and in English and for students to succeed academically in all subject areas at levels comparable to those they would have reached if they had been schooled only in English. Another benefit of the program is that students develop multicultural awareness and a more global perspective. The program is aimed at enriching all the students in the school via special exhibits, outside speakers, and other cultural activities.
What does the program look like in Elementary School?
Rock Hill students who are enrolled in the elementary immersion programs will spend 50% of their day in French or Spanish, and the other 50% of their day will be conducted in English. Students will learn math, science, and literacy in either French or Spanish, and they will learn ELA and social studies in English.
What does the program look like in Middle School?
In grades 6-8, students will take two courses a day. In 6th grade, students will take an Advanced World Language Course, and social studies in the target language. In grades 7-8, students will take an Advanced World Language Course and a culture-based course in the target language.
What does the program look like in High School?
Students will take AP in the 9th grade and will have the opportunity to explore different language pathways including dual-credit opportunities.
Is there a chance that my child feel frustrated while being in the program?
The current research on this topic is very reassuring. In their article So You Want Your Child to Learn French, Weber and Tardif report: “During the first days of school, we carefully observed both the regular and immersion students with some of parents’ most often voiced concerns in mind. However, contrary to our expectations, the second-language element did not really seem to be a major source of frustration or difficulty for the children. The video recordings and interviews clearly show that the children were able to construct much meaning from the immersion situation even at the beginning of the year. Many of the children for example, offered the following explanations of how they came to understand the teacher’s French: “I just listen very hard and my brain figures it out,” “I think of a word in English it sounds like,” and “ I ask the teacher.” (pp. 55-60)
My child really wants band in Middle School. Is this an option with the two required language courses in Middle School?
Yes, this will be an option. District level administration and school level administration are working to ensure that students who desire to take yearlong electives will be able to do so.
Should I continue with immersion after elementary school?
Absolutely! Students are refining their skills and are becoming strong, confident language communicators. Students who are able to communicate effectively in a second language have much greater career opportunities and develop a greater understanding of their own (and other) cultures.
“…Immersion students will not only do as well as children in English-only classrooms but are likely to outperform monolingual students on standardized measurements of English language competency.”
-Dr. Fred Genesse, Researcher on Second Language Acquisition
What is the Model? Are we following the Utah Model?
We are following the Utah Model.
Could my child start in first grade as opposed to kindergarten?
Entry into the program after Kindergarten is reserved for students who have been enrolled in a language immersion program or who are heritage speakers (this means the primary language spoken in the home is the target language—Spanish or French). Students who meet this criteria will participate in a language screening where they will be assessed in math, science and the target language to determine if they have the appropriate skills to successfully transition into the immersion program.
If my child is moving from 5th grade immersion to Sullivan, do I have to reapply?
No, students will not reapply; however, you should complete the online "Immersion Intent Form" or submit the "Rising 6th Grade Letter of Intent". The forms will be available on Monday, October 2, and they should be returned by Friday, October 27. In the event that a sample schedule has not been produced by the time the letters are due to be returned, the return date will be extended.
Is there a cost to be in the immersion program?
There is no cost to the student to be part of this program outside of the regular school fees. The district truly embraces the value and investment this program provides to both our students and our community.
I will be at the new immersion elementary school. Will my child interact with middle school students at any point?
No, the student will not. Even though the schools are connected; they are two separate schools. For example, elementary students and middle school students will not share bathrooms. Middle school students will use the bathrooms in Sullivan Middle School, and elementary school students will use the bathrooms in the elementary school.
I have a child at both schools, the new immersion school and the middle school. Could I drop them off at the same time?
Yes, this is an option. We will provide specifics on this process at a later date.
Is there a physical divide between the new immersion elementary school and Sullivan Middle School?
Yes, there will be a closed and locked door that can only be opened in case of fire.
What if I want out of the program?
Parental support for the student and the teachers is very important for a successful learning experience. Language immersion is a leap of faith and requires a long-term commitment. If you are interested in your child participating it is very important for you to understand how important it is for you to be committed to the pedagogy, philosophy and methodology of immersion language learning. Children do not become proficient in a language without exposure and practice over a duration of time. The time it takes for children to begin speaking, reading and writing in another language varies from one child to another. There is a formal withdrawal process that must be adhered to on the parts of the teachers and parents of children in the program.