Chapel Hill, N.C. — Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' first magnet school, set to open next week, will be devoted to a bilingual curriculum, making it the first of its kind in the area.
More than 500 students are enrolled at Frank Porter Graham Dual Language Magnet Elementary, where the new Spanish-English school will combine several smaller dual-language programs from around the district under one roof.
Native English and Spanish-speaking students will be taught together in both languages.
About half of the kindergartners will have 90 percent of their instruction in only Spanish – something principal Emily Bivins says makes some parents anxious.
Bivins says the school will help save district resources and allow students – many not yet fluent – to become immersed in the languages.
"It just clicks, and one day, they completely appear bilingual," Bivins said. "It's really amazing to watch."
Public school systems in both Wake and Durham counties offer a variety of language programs to their students, but neither has a dual-language school.