CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education on Wednesday honored Monongalia County Schools as the first school system to agree to work with the Department of Education to develop a model Spanish program that spans all grades.
In celebration of National Discover Languages Month, the board learned at its February meeting that the program aims to serve as a state model of promising practice and design that will function as an innovative guide to other districts seeking to develop and sustain an effective K-12 articulation model. The WVDE will provide needed technical support while Monongalia County Schools agreed to designate a local feeder system consisting of Eastwood Elementary School and feeder middle and high school for a uninterrupted sequence of language learning. The project will be implemented over five years, beginning in the 2012-2013 schoolyear.
“This project promises to help develop students who are proficient in another language at advanced levels,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “As we prepare West Virginia students to meet the demands of a 21st century, global economy, it is imperative that they are ready to live in a diverse and tolerant society. Mastery of a world language gives children the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the world in which they live.”
Monongalia County Schools has supported the study of foreign languages by younger students not only through the new project but also as participants in the West Virginia Department of Education Chinese and Japanese pilot language programs for kindergarten and first grade students called Language Leaper.
The space-themed, world language program includes interactive media episodes, student-centered learning activities and assessments. Students in the program embark upon their journey to learn a second language with the help of alien characters: Nomi, Kaz and Beto.
“Research suggests that speaking a second language can increase and correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized tests,” Marple said. “Language learning is not only beneficial in the development of student reading abilities, it can foster creativity and divergent thinking, and help teachers better educate the whole child.
For more information, visit http://wvconnections.k12.wv.us/languageleaper.html, or contact Robert Crawford with the Office of Title II, Title III and System Support at 304-558-0200, or the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.