Last year, the Class of 2017 was the first graduating class of students in Dual Language. Eighteen years following the establishment of the program, CHS is experiencing a rise in the number of Dual Language students. The Dual Language program starts from kindergarten through eighth grade, though students can apply in first and up to second grade.
According to the CHCCS website, the elementary schools involved include Glenwood for Mandarin, Frank Porter Graham Bilingue and Carrboro for Spanish. The program extends to Culbreth Middle and McDougle Elementary Schools.
The transition into middle school offers the students an opportunity to place into a specific foreign language course by taking a test. In previous years, students from Dual Language enroll at CHS or CHHS after the completion of
For Spanish, students’ test results determine whether they place into level three or four. An additional test offers students the opportunity to obtain credit for Spanish 3 and then place into AP Spanish Language and Composition or level 4.
Recently, the foreign language department experienced a significant rise in the enrollment amount of dual language students. Maria Lopez and Amy Olsen, Spanish teachers, receive students entering Spanish 3 and 4 respectively.
Olsen spoke of the benefits related to learning one or more foreign languages.
“I think it is important to be not just bilingual but multilingual. It is beneficial in terms of being able to communicate,” said Olsen.
While students from Dual Language display comfort in their speaking abilities following nine years of practice, “most students need to go to [Spanish] 3, because the emphasis [of Dual Language] is being comfortable speaking, so there isn’t as much grammar,” said Olsen.
Freshman Alec Anderson explains the shift of focusing on culture to the grammar associated with the Spanish
“I was learning more about the culture of Spanish speaking countries, and this [class] is more based on the how we should speak it,” said Anderson.
Olsen acknowledged these same ideas, as she offered advice to students unsure of which class they would take.
“If you are on the fence, and you are coming from Dual Language, and you are choosing between 3 or 4, go to 3.”
Drawing by Ruby Handa