The Department of Spanish Language Immersion
A K-12 Overview
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.
“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
Understanding Language Proficiency
The video link embedded in the image below provides families with an understanding of language growth/proficiency. The informational video was created by the Granite School District, Salt Lake City, Utah. We thank them for sharing these incredible resources that their DLI teams create. Please note that the language targets that are presented are similiar to ours, but slight differences may exist. Please use the information presented as a way to help gain a deeper understanding of proficiency growth and expectations of what DLI students can and can not do with the language based on their proficiency level. Proficiency growth is not measured by a list of vocabulary words or how many verbs a student can conjugate, but what can a student do with the language when in contact with native speakers. The Herricks Public Schools assesses students with the AAPPL to ensure our students are meeting our targets. Please review the presentation Herricks' Parent Proficiency Night in the Related Files at the bottom of this webpage. Though it is from several years ago, the information is still relevant today. Click on the pyramid image to view the video How DLI Students Progress Toward Language Proficiency.
An overview of the Spanish 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.
An overview of the program at Herricks Middle School (6-8)
The middle school program follows other nationally recognized immersion programs with two periods of Spanish instruction. Social Studies in grades 6, 7, and 8 are taught entirely in Spanish. Students are expected to complete the curriculum as their counterparts in all English classes. Students are also provided with Spanish classes in grades 6, 7, and 8. The curriculum of the Spanish courses are based on the themes of the Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture course.The Spanish 1 Language Immersion class in grade six provides students with one high school credit upon successful completion of the course. Spanish 2 Language Immersion is a grade seven class and once completed, students receive a second high school credit. At the end of grade eight, students receive a third high school credit in Spanish 3 Language Immersion. It is important to note that an immersion student who completes the three Spanish courses successfuly, including the final summative assessments, will receive three units of high school credit that will allow him/her to use towards their towards the Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation. These Spanish language courses are placed on a student's official high school transcript. Please read a letter that was sent to parents about the new course names and expectations by clicking HERE.
An Overview of the program at Herricks High School (9-12)
The high school program conitnues to follow other national models with their offerings. The immersion students are placed in Spanish 4 Honors Language Immersion in grade nine. The course prepares students for the AP Spanish Language & Culture course in grade ten. The Spanish Language & Culture course is offered to seniors and Spanish language immersion students, or by placement. Spanish immersion students are enrolled with 12th grade students in this senior level course to advance their proficiency level and take the challenging AP Spanish Language & Culture Exam in the spring. Once students successfully complete the AP Spanish course, they are permitted to take the Breaking Barriers: Exploring the Spanish Speaking World in grade eleven. In grade twelve, students are offered their final course, Writers, Artists, and Thinkers of the Spanish Speaking World. It should be noted that the courses Breaking Barriers and Writers, Artists, and Thinkers are modeled off of 300 level upper division college courses that majors and minors are required to take. We are actively seeking a university partner for these upper division courses to be able to offer our students the opportunity to take the last two course for college credit. To view the world language flow chart, please click here. To read the high school course descriptions, please click here.
Related links and FAQ.
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.
To read the district's newsletter Dateline that featured the immersion program, click here. 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 Mr, Brian McConaghy Ms. Joan Keegan
Principal, Denton Avenue ES Principal, Herricks MS Principal, Herricks HS
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Phone: 516-305-8400 Phone: 516-305-8600 Phone: 516-305-8700