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My turn, Marvin Moore: Isenberg Elementary to offer dual-language classes

How does a school community provide the best experiences for its students?

In recent years Isenberg Elementary School has opened its students to the world of science, technology, engineering and math by providing regular STEM enhancement classes to each student. We’ve opened the world of service learning by participating in the Walk for Wisdom, which provides funds for schools in South Sudan.

We’ve also opened the world of global education by hiring international teachers and becoming a global school — focused on integrating global competencies into our regular school day.

Interestingly STEM, primarily about problem solving, can easily be applied global service projects, including solving problems such as inadequate access to resources, lack of infrastructure and more.

Isenberg has a diverse group of students and staff. This includes four international teachers through Raleigh-based Participate Inc. as well as staff members from countries such as Colombia, Bosnia and Haiti. Many of Isenberg’s families come from regions all over the globe, including Central America, Africa and Asia.

By becoming a global school through the Participate Inc. model, staff members have completed over 40 hours of professional development in global competencies. This allows Isenberg to integrate global awareness and apply global themes to the regular school curriculum.

Isenberg’s global learning transitions well into learning a second language to affect academic achievement. Known in educational circles as dual-immersion, participating students are taught literacy and content in two languages.

Research shows that bilingual people have an easier time understanding math concepts and solving word problems; developing strong thinking skills; using logic; focusing, remembering and making decisions; thinking about language; and learning new languages.

Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, Isenberg will offer two kindergarten classes, with 25 students each, as part of its dual-language immersion program.

Students will receive half of their instruction in English and half in Spanish. Two regular kindergarten classes will also be offered.

Each year, two dual-immersion classes will be added in kindergarten as the original dual-immersion students progress a grade and continue in the program.

Interested parents from anywhere in the Rowan-Salisbury school district can apply to the dual immersion program at www.rssed.org/ies

Up to 25 kindergarteners who are not zoned for Isenberg will be accepted into the program. Parents will need to provide transportation for students not zoned for Isenberg.

By becoming a dual-language immersion school, Isenberg is taking the next step in maintaining a high-quality, innovative focus so that students have the tools to become leaders through problem-solving, literacy and technology.

Most significant, this initiative provides students opportunities to thrive in a globally competitive world; experience and appreciate different cultures; write and speak in a different language; problem solve and empathize at a more sophisticated level; lead conversations about global competencies and traditional academics (reading, math, social studies, and science); expand their vocabularies by interacting with a Latin-based language; enjoy a more language-rich community where students have the option to speak in their home languages in social and academic settings with their peers

Isenberg was fortunate to become a renewal school as a strategy to meet challenges and improve strengths. Although the school was already moving toward student enrichment and research-based teaching, renewal put more wind in our sails.

Education is really about reinventing ourselves to become our best selves.

There will be an informational night at 6 p.m. March 28. Dual-language kindergarten registration will be at Isenberg 6 p.m. April 11.

Isenberg is at 2800 Jake Alexander Blvd. N. Call 704-639-3009 for more information.

Marvin Moore is principal of Isenberg Elementary School.

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