SIOUX CITY (KTIV) – A new dual-language academy is set to begin this year.
Bishop Heelan Catholic School staff have been working for approximately a year and a half to create the academy.
“This is our very first year doing dual-language we really think it’s important to really build our curriculum to make it the best thing that we can make it,” said Laura Scott, Bilingual Coordinator
Bishop Heelan’s Dual Language Academy will use a 90/10 program model where 90% of the class will be taught in Spanish and 10% in English.
The plan: Every year the amount of English spoken in the classroom will increase, and by 5th grade the program model will be 50/50.
The reason that we do that is so that the students can get a really strong base in Spanish. English is all around us in Sioux City and its so easy to learn, but Spanish is a little bit harder to really learn and learn well and to maintain,” said Laura Scott, Bilingual Coordinator
Scott also adds that they chose the Spanish language because of the large Latino community in Siouxland.
The academy consists of 3 teachers, 2 of which are native Spanish speakers.
“Estoy nerviosa feliz con muchas ganas de empesar ahora que ya tenemos la clase preparada pues estoy desiando que llege el dia de empesar con los alumnos de conocerlos de que me conozcan y de empesar a trabajar juntos,” said Antonia Carreno, First Grade Spanish Teacher
The academy’s Bilingual Coordinator says children’s brains are wired in a way that they can absorb another language and really start to understand by just being exposed to it.
Mayra Padilla, the Pre-School teacher is a prime example of that.
“I started off as a bilingual learner myself when I was starting kindergarten I didn’t know any English and I learned it as I went on and I thought this was a great opportunity to let other students go and learn a second language just as I did,” said Mayra Padilla, Pre-K Spanish Teacher
Teachers from the new Dual Language Academy attended Boston College this summer where they received training on how to run the program successfully.
The academy currently is located at the C-Y-O building, but plans to move to the Epiphany Building as it expands.