Urbana School District #116

Dual Language in Urbana School District

Our Dual Language programs are bilingual education program that integrates students from Spanish and French speaking homes (bilingual and/or predominately Spanish or French) with students from English speaking homes and/or additional languages with instruction in and through two languages (Spanish or French AND English). Students spend part of the school day learning in Spanish or French and part of the day learning in English through a 90/10 model (Spanish) or 50/50 model (French).  (See below for more details).

The goals of the dual language program is for students develop high-levels of proficiency in both Spanish or French and in English. The benefits of bilingualism allow for creativity and problem solving, greater cross-cultural understanding, and marketability for future college and career goals in a bilingual and multilingual society.

The schools where the Dual Language programs are located are Leal Elementary School (Spanish/English), Dr. Preston L. Williams Jr. Elementary School (Spanish/English), and Urbana Middle School (Spanish/English). French Dual Language for Kindergarten and 1st grade has been added at Yankee Ridge Elementary this school year (2018-2019).  The program will follow the students in the dual language classes at these schools.

The Dual Language program will be completely voluntary, therefore Dual Language will be for those who choose to enroll in the program.

Dual Language Application and Brochures

Current highlights and updates related to Dual Language in USD 116:

How are students currently doing in the Dual Language program? Current assessment data suggest the following:

  • Dual language students of all racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds, on average, are on par or outperforming district averages of students in English only classrooms.  
  • Students are developing bilingual/biliterate skills
  • Students are achieving well academically in both languages
  • While we do see varying levels of oral language fluency in both languages based on the students’ native language, we are not seeing substantial achievement differences/gaps across racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups of students.
  • Dual language students are interacting and developing cross-cultural, cross-racial, and cross-linguistic relationships like we have never seen before.

2019 Foro sobre el Programa de Lenguaje Dual para padres / Dual Language Parent Forums

If you are interested in learning more about the dual language programs available for kindergarten students at Leal, Dr. Williams Elementary and Yankee Ridge Elementary schools for the 2019-2020 school year, please join us for the Dual Language Parent Forums. What to expect:

  • Information about dual language program model and enrollment procedures
  • Information about dual language program research and student achievement
  • Testimonials from people who are currently involved in our dual language programs, including current parents and teachers
  • Applications for enrollment will be available

Childcare will be provided the forum

Spanish Dual Language
Wednesday / Miercoles, March 27 / 27 de Marzo
Forum: 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Dr. Williams Elementary

Dual Language video presented to the Urbana Board of Education on 5 February 2013

Please see the following presentation that was presented to the Board of Education in December of 2013.

Due to the success of our Spanish/English dual language programs, we are now in the process of pursing Mandarin Chinese/English dual language programs.  Please see below for updated information related to Chinese dual language in USD 116.

 Why Dual Language?

  1. Dual language programs have a track record of success, and an established network of experienced practitioners to support implementation. Here is a link to the National Dual Language Consortium, a resource group for Dual Language practitioners: http://www.dual-language.org
  2. The Center for Applied Linguistics provides program implementation resources for practitioners. This link provides documentation on how Dual Language programs have have been implemented and assessed across the United States. http://www.cal.org/topics/fl/immersion.html
  3. This study speaks to the question of whether or not dual language programs detract from or build onto the core curriculum. In other words, if a student is learning two languages at once, how do they fare in the core subjects?A quote from the article: “Native English speakers who are already on grade level can exceed the achievement of their monolingually educated peers. And through the cognitive stimulus of schooling in two languages, which leads to enhanced creativity and analytical thinking, native English speakers who are lagging behind academically receive the accelerated instruction necessary to close the achievement gap. All student groups in dual-language classes benefit from meaningful, challenging, and accelerated—not remedial—instruction (Baker, 2001). http://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el200310_thomas.pdf
  4. A cognitive neuroscientist, Ellen Bialystok has spent almost 40 years learning about how bilingualism sharpens the mind. Her good news: Among other benefits, the regular use of two languages appears to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/science/31conversation.html?_r=1
  5. Thomas and Collier’s newest research on the success of DL programs in North Carolina: http://esl.ncwiseowl.org/resources/dual_language
  6. Momentum builds for Dual Language learning–Experts say the interest in dual-language programs now is driven by an increased demand for bilingual and biliterate workers and by educators who see positive impacts on academic achievement for both English-learners and students already fluent in English: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/03/23/26duallanguage_ep.h31.html?tkn=SVRFiB%2BHyniCxugGb6XDd7Fwu6eYTyd1p%2FQd&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1