Students sing, loud and proud!

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On Sept. 19, Garden Grove Unified School District welcomed public officials, community leaders and parents to a “Going Global Launch Party” to celebrate the district’s first-ever Spanish Dual Language Immersion Academy at Monroe Elementary School.

On Sept. 19, Garden Grove Unified School District welcomed public officials, community leaders and parents to a “Going Global Launch Party” to celebrate the district’s first-ever Spanish Dual Language Immersion Academy at Monroe Elementary School.

The Dual Language Academy held its first day of school Sept. 1 with more than 170 transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade students beginning their journeys to becoming bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural.  The “Going Global Launch Party” was held to showcase the benefits of dual language instruction to community leaders.

Kindergarten students from the program entertained guests with a performance of “Buenos Dias” and classroom visits allowed community leaders a glimpse into student learning.  

District Board of Education President George West spoke about the planning and collaboration among the Board of Education, staff, and community that began in 2012 with discussions about the need and desire to expand the district’s world and heritage language offerings.       

“Our goals were driven by the board’s belief that 21st century students must be prepared to work in a diverse global economy,” said West.  “Students will need to demonstrate a mastery of English, and by being bilingual and biliterate, they will have the keys to open doors in an increasingly competitive job market.”

Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Sara Wescott and Monroe Principal Cesar Loya shared with guests the excitement of parents who were eager to enroll their students at Monroe.  Loya highlighted the significant academic gains that come with learning a second language, including critical thinking and problem solving skills. 

“At Monroe, language is not a barrier – it’s a unifier that is bringing our students together,” said Loya.  “We have students from all walks of life and a wide array of language backgrounds but they are working side-by-side and helping each other progress and grow to become bilingual.”

City of Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen and State Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) were among the elected officials who presented  proclamations congratulating the district on equipping students with the skills to thrive in a global society.

The launch party also included a ceremonial ribbon cutting in recognition of the successful start to the 2016-2017 school year.  

The Academy follows a 90:10 model with students learning in Spanish 90 percent of the time and English 10 percent of the time for kindergarten through first grade, ultimately reaching 50 percent of each language by sixth grade.