Henrico elementary students learning a second language in dual program

“The goal is to help students become bilingual and biliterate,” Principal Brooke Thompson said.
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Holladay Elementary School is the first school in Henrico to implement a dual program that teaches young students a second language.

“The goal is to help students become bilingual and bi-literate,” Principal Brooke Thompson said.

Thompson says Holladay is home to 800 students and 40 percent are Hispanic.

Nearly 80 kindergarteners and first graders are learning a second language in four classes.

“Our goal is to have an equal balance of native-English speakers and native-Spanish speakers,” Associate Principal Megan Lindemann said.

Lindemann oversees the dual program and says it’s not your typical learning setting.

“Students spend half of their day in Spanish class and half of their day in English class. They have two teachers,” Lindemann said.

She says teaching students a second language at a young age can help develop literacy skills and brain development.

Although it’s only the school’s second year implementing the new program, she says they already see results.

“For our Spanish speakers, there’s a sense of comfort. It’s scary to go into a place and not know a language, especially as kindergarteners, so there’s a level of comfort for all those students. For our English speakers, there’s an excitement. By the end of the first nine weeks, our English speakers are understanding everything our Spanish teachers are saying,” Lindemann said.

Lindemann says the feedback from parents has been so positive that there’s been a wait list to enroll in this program.

Thompson says they’re hoping to expand the dual program in the future, but no details have been finalized just yet.