The MSD of Lawrence Township has been home to nationally recognized K-12 Dual Language programming for over 35 years. The elementary programs are housed at Forest Glen Elementary, Skiles Test Elementary and Sunnyside Elementary. After grade six, students from these three schools move on to Fall Creek Valley Middle School and then Lawrence North High School to continue their immersion experience. Beginning in 2023, programming will be moving to Belzer Middle School and ultimately to Lawrence Central High School, providing comprehensive immersion programming at all secondary buildings. Upon graduation, students graduate with an Indiana Certificate of Multilingual Proficiency and an International Diploma recognized by the Ministry of Spain.
“Students in high-quality dual language programs like those offered in Lawrence Township learn a second language in a student-centered environment that emphasizes literacy and the integration of humanities and Hispanic literature,” says Mr. Jerome Lahlou, Forest Glen Elementary principal.
At the elementary level, two-way immersion students in Kindergarten through grade two receive 80% of their instruction in Spanish and 20% in English. In grade three, the model of instruction is the same, but the language allocation plan changes to 70% Spanish and 30% English, preparing students for required state assessments. In grades four, five and six, the language allocation changes to 50% Spanish and 50% English. Teachers are fully proficient in the language they use for instruction, and in nearly all situations, are native speakers of that language.
Assistant Director of Language Programs, Ms. Georgina Mayorga-Schneider, has a personal commitment to developing bi-literacy. Beyond her professional role, she grew up in a bilingual home. “While my parents are both bilingual, they believed that English was the only way to be successful and only spoke to us in English,” Schneider says. “Now as the Assistant Director of Language Programs, I am able to advocate for and support programs that develop student bilingualism and give them a chance to see their identity as valuable, that they never feel as if one language should dominate another or that one defines success. I see students being brave and bold in their pursuit of becoming bilingual and it is fulfilling and inspiring on a personal and professional level.”
In 2018, due to program popularity, dual immersion was expanded to Skiles Test Elementary. Unique to this school, Skiles Test blends Spanish immersion with existing robotics, coding, and environmental science programs.
At all elementary buildings, students participate in foundational programs introducing computer science and hands-on innovation. Students are given the opportunity to further deepen their STEM experiences with participation in extracurricular clubs, including VEX Robotics, available in every building with the support of the Lawrence Township School Foundation.
In late 2022, given continued program demand, the decision was made to further expand two-way dual language programming to Sunnyside Elementary. Families now have even more choice when selecting a two-way dual language program for their child. One-way dual language continues to be available to native Spanish speaking students learning English at three elementary buildings.
Students in dual language programs should be able to see the similarities and differences in each other, but rather than identifying the differences as obstacles, they should be viewed as opportunities to connect.
The Dual Language program in the MSD of Lawrence Township follows Indiana Academic Standards and is nationally recognized for its high levels of academic achievement. It is the longest standing and only K-12 dual language model in the state.
Learn more about the dual language offerings at MSD Lawrence schools by visiting ltschools.org/academics/dual-language, or calling 317-423-8200.