Education

Bilingual magnet school set to open next week in Chapel Hill

Posted August 19, 2013
Updated August 20, 2013

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— 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.

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  • concernedparent37 Aug 21, 2013

    I question the cost, especially when funding for education is being slashed. A bilingual program may be the most cost effective way to educate ESL students, but it can't be the most economical way to educate native English speakers - yet these programs (at FPG & Carrboro Elementary -> not mentioned in the article) serve more native English speakers than Spanish. For English speakers, dual language is a wonderful enrichment. While there is nothing wrong with enrichment per se, I hate seeing the true costs glossed over. Unlike typical magnet schools, the district is (taxpayers are) paying to bus all students to FPG. Does it really not cost any more to bring in a teacher with an authentic accent from South America than to hire a NC resident teacher? Is the work translating the core curriculum materials being done for free in someone's spare time? We need math specialists & reading specialists & social workers & so much for our kids' fundamental education that we can't afford.

  • brassy Aug 20, 2013

    Other states have tried this. The kids who can't speak English never learn it because the teacher spends 90% of the day teaching in Spanish.

  • Radioactive Ted Aug 20, 2013

    " We have a much greater need to have more people that can speak other languages. If it were me deciding which languages to have my children learn, it would be languages where there is a growing need to know it and a shortage of people HERE that do know it." whatelseisnew Good idea. Maybe we could get the Islamic Center to open up a bilingual arabic school with state funding.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 20, 2013

    "Yeah, first it was those Irish, then those Italians, then those rough Germans, now look! MORE immigrants speaking a furrin langwage! We gots to build that bomb shelter NOW Goober! We's bein taked over!"

    More of the typical lies and hate speech from the left. I know of NO person that has a problem with LEGAL immigrants. Unfortunately, we have millions of people that do not care about laws and do not care that they are damaging the country and damaging the people that do follow the legal processes for entering and remaining in the country. Course they wrap themselves in hate and spew that hate to self-justify what they are doing and attempting to ignore the harm they are causing.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 20, 2013

    "I think this is a great idea!!! There is not the first thing wrong with teaching children spanish. More people in the world speak spanish than do english. WHY would anyone be against giving these kids a 'leg up' so to speak in being able to communicate with the SECOND MOST SPOKEN LANGUAGE IN THE WORLD!!! Not NC, not the US, THE WORLD!"

    Because we have MILLIONS of people here that already can speak and read and write Spanish. We have a much greater need to have more people that can speak other languages. If it were me deciding which languages to have my children learn, it would be languages where there is a growing need to know it and a shortage of people HERE that do know it.

  • areyououtofyourmind Aug 20, 2013

    Crazy how some are outraged over children learning multiple languages. You may say we're catering to so and so, but isn't the goal education? We are one of the very few countries in the world in which the majority of the population only knows the mother tongue.

    And for those of you opposed, I pray that if you travel to a foreign country that it's a place that doesn't speak English.

  • whatelseisnew Aug 20, 2013

    Typical myopic and political correct behavior of those in control of schools. Do we have a shortage of spanish-speaking people in this country? NOPE. Do we have a shortage of people that speak Chinese languages, languages spoken in India and languages spoken in the Middle East? YEP. So of course, lets create an immersion program involving Spanish.

    "this is were the Right goes so deeply wrong in their thinking, the Latino Community is probably more Christian than most on these sites, they are very religious, family oriented people. you would think the GOP would welcome them, but they don't.."

    Sad that you actually believe this foolishness. NOT supporting ILLEGALS has nothing to do with welcoming Latino people. That also has nothing to do with whether a person is affiliated with a particular political party. It has only to do with whether or not people think LAWS should be followed and LAWs should be enforced. The sad truth is, more and more people embrace criminal behavior.

  • Jack Flash Aug 20, 2013

    "...in the Business world English is the most spoken"

    And one bilingual school in Chapel Hill isn't disproportionate.

    "Can anybody please tell me why we are only catering to the Spanish speaking illegals?"

    I can tell you we're not doing that, but it sounds like you wouldn't listen.

  • Obamacare saves lives Aug 20, 2013

    They should probably add Chinese to the list of languages kids will need to learn.

  • GOPtakersSociety Aug 20, 2013

    this is were the Right goes so deeply wrong in their thinking, the Latino Community is probably more Christian than most on these sites, they are very religious, family oriented people. you would think the GOP would welcome them, but they don't..

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