Your Spanish Immersion Program Checklist is Here!
With all the Spanish Immersion program options around Grand Rapids, it can be overwhelming to know where to start and what questions to ask – especially if you’re not a Spanish speaker yourself!
But don’t let your lack of knowledge keep you from pursuing this for your family if it’s important to you. A Spanish Immersion program reaps rewards for a lifetime.
NorthPointe Christian School offers an incredible Spanish Immersion program for ages three through 7th grade (growing a grade each year with the program through the 12th grade). They are offering some insider tips on what questions to ask of a Spanish Immersion program.
They encourage parents to carefully research prospective schools to find the best fit for their student and family.
6 Things to Ask Your Prospective Spanish Immersion School
1. What is the Long Term Goal of the Program?
It’s important to start with some reflection: what do you hope for your child to gain from being in a Spanish Immersion program?It’s necessary that you’re on the same page as the school so your expectations are met.
According to Amber Jongekrijg, Spanish Immersion Program Coordinator at NorthPointe Christian School, it’s their goal to, “graduate fully bilingual and biliterate students who can impact their world for Jesus Christ.”
2. Does Commitment to the Program Wane or Stay Strong in the Upper Grades?
Even if your child is only in preschool, ask about the program time commitments in middle and high school. It’s essential to look at the bigger picture.
Without robust time immersed in the language beyond 5th grade, it’s unlikely that students will reach high levels of proficiency in the language. Make sure the program is committed to educating your child well for the long haul!
3. Is There Third Party Accountability for the Program? Who is Endorsing the Program?
Without accountability, an immersion program can easily lose its focus.
NorthPointe believes it’s critical to offer students the best research-based practices in immersion education. Because of this, they’ve partnered with add.a.lingua which guides best practices in immersion education, provides ongoing teacher training, and assesses teachers and students in order to make program recommendations.
4. What are the Teacher and Support Staff Standards?
It’s vital that your child’s teacher is able to practice what they teach! You want a teacher who truly knows the language to teach it to your student.
NorthPointe’steam of seasoned and native speakers rank from Advanced to Superior on the ACTFL Proficiency Guideline. They also offer students a native reading support staff for those who may need additional support.
5. Does Spanish Immersion Culturally Enrich the School?
At the end of the day, it’s about more than just the language. It’s important that the program you’re looking at provides cultural enrichment opportunities for students.
At NorthPointe they provide many cultural enrichment opportunities. This past year they helped with service projects at the Hispanic Center, put on a Spring Concert in four languages, and celebrated at their annual Arepas Festival. NorthPointe’s teachers also come from a variety of countries which further enriches the students’ cultural experience.
6. How Welcome Do You Feel as a Family?
Don’t underestimate your “gut” reaction when you walk into a building. It’s imperative that you feel comfortable with the climate of the school.
Often the welcome can determine your accessibility to the teacher, opportunities to connect as a parent, and the general “feel” your child will have coming to school everyday.
Now it’s Time for You to Decide!
You have your questions and now it’s time to ask them. Take notes, pay attention, and pick the best fit for your family!