The Department of Spanish Language Immersion
It should be noted that the Herricks Public Schools is the only New York State public school district to have a fully articulated K-12 Spanish immersion / dual language program.
Department Philosophy: “Monolingualism Can Be Cured.” Through the learning of language we build on and affirm cultural, linguistic, intellectual and personal identities. Knowledge of several languages empowers individuals by opening economic and social opportunities. It promotes tolerance and diversity as well as solidarity within our global community. Language learning allows us to bridge cultural barriers and promote ways of interpreting our diverse world while stimulating intellectual curiosity. Furthermore, our work at the elementary level is to help students build literacy skills in two languages. We want our students to be college, career and world-ready!
The goals of the Spanish Language Immersion Program are to:
- Ensure that our children are truly bilingual
- Develop strong literacy skills in both English and Spanish
- Provide students with the academic language to clearly communicate their thoughts and opinions
- Develop the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity
- Prepare them to live, work and thrive in a global community
According to research, one can define several advantages associated with immersion programs. These advantages include:
- A greater measure of cognitive flexibility and creative/divergent thinking skills
- Development of more intense listening skills
- Transfer skills in many curriculum areas. Vocabulary development in English is especially enhanced by learning a romance language at any early age
- Development of fluency in a world language in a natural setting, with fluency being the by-product
- Development of a greater degree of cross-cultural acceptance through the understanding that the diverse peoples of the world speak diverse languages, and that learning a world language can bring us in touch with the world around us in a very personal way
An Overview of the Language Immersion Program at Denton Avenue Elementary School (K-5)
The program begins in kindergarten; all district residents, with incoming kindergartener aged children, will receive information about the program and the required process in the Kindergarten Registration Packet. For those families that are interested in the program, but who enter the district after the school year begins, their child must demonstrate a certain level of proficiency to be considered for placement into the program, if spots are available. The program is open to district residents only. Please note that we cannot guarantee placement, but we will be more than happy to explore all options with families who are interested.
Students begin their day either in English or in Spanish and then switch classrooms to receive instruction in the other language. While students are with their Spanish immersion teacher, they will receive instruction in Mathematics and in Science entirely in Spanish. English language arts instruction is delivered by the English speaking teacher; their English literacy block is maintained to ensure a high level of literacy in the English language. The question of who delivers the content of the Social Studies block is decided by the grade level teacher and the Spanish immersion teacher. Students continue to receive their specials, such as music, art, physical education, and library.
The grade level teacher works closely with the Spanish immersion teacher to co-plan and to discuss the needs of our children. They develop lesson plans and materials to ensure that the grade level (content) standards are met for all children, regardless of the language in which instruction is delivered. All assessments and activities are age and level appropriate. All state assessments are administered in English. The strong partnership that is developed is critical to the success of our immersion program.
The Herricks Language Immersion Program has been featured twice in the New York State Education Department Office of Bilingual Education & World Languages' newsletters. The articles are available by clicking here for the August 2015, and for the more recent, the January 2022, please click HERE.
What Parents Want to Know about Foreign Language Immersion Programs: a well written article that answers many frequently asked questions on language immersion; please click here to read the article. Please note that a PDF file will open that contains the article.
To learn more about the Herricks Middle School Language Immersion Program, please click here. To read the district's newsletter Dateline that featured the immersion program, click here. High School immersion students are provided with advanced Spanish courses to help advance their proficiency goals.Please review the files below.
If you should have any questions about our program, please contact one of the following administrators. Please explore the files below to learn more about our unique program.
Francesco L. Fratto
Director of World Languages, Immersion & English as a New Language
Mr. Dominick Tolipano
Principal, Denton Avenue Elementary School