Q: Do all students receive Spanish instruction?
A: During the 2015-16 school year, we are phasing in Spanish instruction beginning with kindergartners and first-graders at all elementary schools. There will be three 30-minute classes every week, giving students 90 minutes per week, the research-proven minimum time allotment recommended to gain effective proficiency in second language acquisition. With each subsequent year, we will extend the program to the next grade so that students will receive continuous instruction in Spanish through sixth grade. Upon entering seventh grade, the K-6 program will dovetail with the existing foreign language program.
All students participate in FLES with the exception of students whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) specifies otherwise.
Q: Does the Passport to Spanish program utilize a specific textbook?
A:The FLES program has adopted Santillana: Descubre el Español as an instructional resource. The Passport to Spanish program develops teacher-created resources to support the curricula.
Q: What specialized training do FLES teachers have?
A: FLES teachers hold a teacher’s certification from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in Languages other than English (LOTE) in Spanish or similarly commensurate certification in bilingual education.
Q: What is the difference between a FLES program and an immersion program?
A: FLES students learn Spanish as a foreign language. Students completing a K-6 FLES sequence are expected to communicate at the beginning stage of language acquisition and attain the Novice-Mid to Novice-High level as described in the Proficiency Guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Immersion students learn Spanish through all the content areas in an immersive environment.
Q: How much time do students spend each week learning Spanish?
A: Instructional time for the Passport to Spanish program will reach a minimum of 90 minutes per a week.
Q: How is language proficiency assessed?
A: Teachers utilize a variety of informal assessments to measure proficiency in Spanish. Additionally, teachers use a variety of formative and summative assessments in order to gain an understanding of each child’s progress.
Q: When will Passport to Spanish be offered at my school?
A: Every elementary school in HPISD will have the Passport to Spanish program. It will begin in kindergarten and first grade for 2015-16 and will grow by one grade level each year through sixth grade.
Q: What options are available in the intermediate school?
A: The program will grow with the students through sixth grade. We are researching published papers and programs with a long-standing history to implement the model in the intermediate school with best practices in mind.