SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – This fall there will be a new opportunity for students in the Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools: a new Dual Language Academy.
The academy will be a 90-10 model. That means pre-school and kindergarten students will spend 90-percent of their day in a Spanish-speaking environment.
The other 10-percent of the day will be spent learning in English, which will be taught by new bilingual teachers.
The first year of the classes will be at the CYO Center near Bishop Heelan High School.
The following year they will move to the Epiphany Center just a block away.
The hope is to add grades first through fifth in the coming years.
“I think as we look at the changing demographics of our Catholic population and also just the global economy that we live in today for our students to be able to learn a second language early in life is a life skill that will be a huge benefit for them,” said Kate Connealy, Sacred Heart Principal.
School officials say the curriculum will focus on four pillars of achievement.
Those are bi-literacy in Spanish and English, strong Catholic values, academic excellence, and cultural awareness.
“When you are young you are born with a natural ability to learn how to speak,” said Laura Scott, EL teacher, “you are born and your brain is wired in a way that learning language comes easily to you. As you grow your brain changes and it gets much more difficult as an adult to learn a language that it does when you are 3, 4, or 5 years old.”
You can learn more about the academy at two information sessions.
The first is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Bishop Heelan School Media Center.
The second is from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Cathedral of the Epiphany.
The new academy is offered in partnership with Boston College and its a two-way immersion network for Catholic schools.