Frequently Asked Questions

  • Program Design and Locations

    1. Which schools offer the Spanish Dual Language program?

    The Spanish Dual Language program is currently offered at North Chatham Elementary  and Siler City Elementary as well as at Chatham Middle School, Pollard Middle School and Jordan-Matthews High School. The program expanded to Margaret B. Pollard Middle School in August of 2018.

           2.  What model is used in the Spanish program?

    Chatham County uses a Two-way/50-50 model that emphasizes academic instruction in both languages each day. Students in the program will come from both native English and native Spanish speaking backgrounds and classes will have a mix of students from both languages. Students will spend 50% of each day using Spanish and 50% using

    English. A Kindergarten through 8th grade Language Allocation Plan lays out whichacademic areas are taught in which languages each year. At the high school level

    students can select from various course options taught in Spanish with a goal of 2 courses per year being available. The specific course options may change from year to year.

     Program Entry and Requirements

             1.  Can anyone apply, regardless of address?

    The Dual Language programs were primarily designed to support the students at each of the schools. In order to support this goal, schools will first review student enrollment information from their attendance zone and then determine whether transfers from outside each school’s attendance zone would be needed.  Parents wishing to apply for a transfer to participate in the dual language program should follow the regular transfer/ reassignment request process per Board policy 4150; additional information regarding this process can be found at http://www.chatham.k12.nc.us/Page/21285. Additional information regarding the Dual Language Enrollment process can be found at https://www.chatham.k12.nc.us/Page/22008

             2.  Is a placement test required to enter the Spanish program?

    Chatham County Schools utilizes a set of program entry guidelines to help parents and schools.  The Dual Language Enrollment process can be found at https://www.chatham.k12.nc.us/Page/22008. No Spanish assessment is required for students entering in Kindergarten or First grade. Beginning in Second grade, students who wish to enter the program, when space is available, will take a Spanish language proficiency test aligned to the North Carolina World Language Standards for Dual Language programs. These standards provide the  minimum proficiency levels needed by grade level. More detailed information regarding these levels can be found at http://aappl.actfl.org/.

     

    Grade

    Listening

    Speaking

    Reading

    Writing

    2nd

    Novice High

    Novice Middle (level 3)

    Novice High

    Novice Middle (level 3)

    3rd

    Intermediate Low

    Intermediate Low

    Intermediate Low

    Intermediate Low

    4th

    Intermediate Middle (level 6)

    Intermediate Middle (level 6)

    Intermediate Middle (level 6)

    Intermediate Middle (level 6)

    5th

    Intermediate Middle (level 7)

    Intermediate Middle (level 7)

    Intermediate Middle (level 7)

    Intermediate Middle (level 7)

    6th

    Intermediate Middle (level 8)

    Intermediate Middle (level 8)

    Intermediate Middle (level 8)

    Intermediate Middle (level 8)

    7th

    Intermediate High

    Intermediate High

    Intermediate High

    Intermediate High

    8th

    Intermediate High

    Intermediate High

    Intermediate High

    Intermediate High

    9-12th

    Advanced Low

    Advanced Low

    Advanced Low

    Advanced Low

           3.  Is there a lottery in Kindergarten to enter the program?

    In order to maintain a balance between the two main program languages (English and Spanish) the goal is to establish a balance of approximately 60-65% native Spanish speaking students and 35-40% native English speaking students, or students of other languages. If interest is greater in one or both of the languages than space available a lottery is conducted for one or both language areas.  In most years this is the case for at least one of the two language areas.

           4.  Is there any preference in the Kindergarten lottery?

    The only consideration given during the Kindergarten lottery is to establish a balance between the two program languages (English and Spanish)of approximately 60-65% native Spanish speaking students and 35-40% native English speaking students. This is important to ensure a long term balance between both languages that stays at least at or above a 50%-50% split.


           5.  What if my child’s name does not get selected in the Kindergarten lottery?

    Each school will maintain a waitlist for the remainder of Kindergarten and 1st grade. If slots open up then schools will contact students/families to see if they are still interested in participating in the dual language program.

          6.  When is the Kindergarten lottery?

    Parents should contact the specific school to determine if a lottery is anticipated and when the lottery would be conducted.

          7. Can my child enter after Kindergarten or 1st Grade?

    Kindergarten and First grade will be the initial point of entry into the dual language program for most students. When space is available after 1st grade parents may request for their student to join the program. The Chatham County Schools Dual Language Program Entry Guidelines outline the process by which schools may enroll new students to the program.

          8.  How do I enroll my child in the DL program if I am new to the district?

    Families may apply for the DL program while registering their student at the school. Parents should ask the school’s office staff for any additional paperwork needed to indicate their interest.

           9..  When can I register for the DL program?

    It is recommended that families applying for Kindergarten for the upcoming school year should apply when the Kindergarten registration window opens, usually in late March or early April. Families applying to grades 1st-12th may apply at the school when they complete their initial registration.

           10.  Our family plans to move to an address outside of our current Dual Language zone. Can we attend the other Dual Language School?

    Families who move outside of their Dual Language zone may be placed at the other Dual Language school if seats are available, and there is no waiting list. If there is a waiting list, families may elect to have the student placed on the waiting list.

            11.  Our family plans to purchase a home outside of CCS. Our children are already in the Dual Language program. Will we be allowed to stay in the program?

    Students participating in the Dual Language program must maintain residency within the established borders of the CCS district. Students who move to an address outside of the district are withdrawn from the program and the district.

            12.  I would like to transfer from one DL school to the next. May I request a transfer?

    Parents requesting transfers from one DL school to the next must meet the normal conditions that govern district transfers. Transfers may be granted, provided that the family meets the criteria and there is space at the desired school.

            13.  What should I do if I move during the year?

    Parents must notify the school or District office if their address changes. If a family has moved outside of the school’s attendance zone, you may request a transfer to stay at your original school per Board policy 4150; additional information regarding this process can be found at http://www.chatham.k12.nc.us/Page/21285.

             14.  What happens to my transportation if I am enrolled in the Dual Language program and move during the school year?

    Parents must provide transportation if they do not live in the attendance zone for that school.



    Program Curriculum and Instruction

             1.  What courses do students study in Spanish?

    Students participating in the dual language program follow the North Carolina Standard Course of Study identical to their peers. Chatham County utilizes a Language Allocation Plan to outline which of the four content areas (Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies) will be taught in English or Spanish each year. Over the course of Kindergarten through Eighth grade students will receive instruction in each content area in both languages.  In 9th-12th grades Chatham County Schools has the goal of offering students two courses per year taught in Spanish. Students in 9th-11th grades will be able to choose one course per year that will be focused on the Spanish language, and the other course will be taught in Social Studies. In 12th grade, students will take one course focused on the Spanish language or literature, and another developed course.

             2.   What standards are being addressed in these courses?

    In all courses the teachers will be following the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. In addition to those standards, dual language teachers also emphasize a focus on literacy and language standards found in Spanish Language Arts Standards as well as the NC Essential State Standards for Dual Language and World Language.

              3.  Are End of Course or End of Grade exams given in Spanish or English?

    North Carolina mandates require the assessments to be in English, these include all North Carolina End-of-Grade Tests in  Grades 3-8 as well as North Carolina Final Exams for Science and Social Studies. In any other circumstances, the expectation is that students will take assessments in whichever language the course is being taught in.

               4.  May DL students take additional languages at the high school level?

    Yes, dual language students may study additional languages.

                5.  How may 8th grade dual language students continue their language study in high school?

    Students who wish to continue their studies in the dual language program at the high school level will be able to choose from up to 2 courses per year that will be taught in Spanish. One of these courses will be a Spanish Language Arts or Spanish Advanced Placement courses, the other courses will be offered in a required content area such as Social Studies.

                6.  Do all students in the DL elementary program automatically qualify for entry into the middle school program?

    Yes, students in the DL elementary program automatically qualify for entry into the program. Depending upon a student’s Spanish language proficiency, they may be expected to participate in intervention periods to support growth in that area.

              7.  What resources are used by teachers and students in the DL program?

    Teachers and students use a variety of resources, including print and digital resources in the target language. Literary and informational texts in the target language are also used, including books, magazines and newspapers, digital resources, and literary and informational texts in both Spanish and English.

               8.  What are the expectations for language proficiency when exiting the program?

    The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has established benchmarks, or goals, for language proficiency at the end of 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades for each aspect of language.These targets are based on the NC Essential Standards for World Language and Dual Language and come from the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (www.actfl.org)

     

     

    By the end of 2nd

    By the end of 5th

    By the end of 8th

    By the end of 12th

    Listening

    Novice High

    Intermediate Low-Middle

    Intermediate Middle-High

    Advance Low-Middle

    Speaking

    Novice High

    Intermediate Low-Middle

    Intermediate Middle-High

    Advance Low-Middle

    Reading

    Novice High

    Intermediate Low-Middle

    Intermediate Middle-High

    Intermediate High - Adv. low

    Writing

    Novice High

    Intermediate Low-Middle

    Intermediate Middle-High

    Advance Low-Middle

          9.  Are courses taught by native speakers?

    All teachers are required to meet the same certification requirements as traditional classroom teachers including minimum standards of proficiency in both English and Spanish (for those teachers teaching content in Spanish). In some cases, those courses taught in Spanish may be taught by native Spanish speakers; however, that may not be the case in every circumstance.

          10.  What are the qualifications for DL teachers?

    DL teachers must be Highly Qualified and be certified for the grade level and/or content areas they are assigned to teach. Many teachers also have additional training in teaching English As a Second Language or World Language.  They also receive specialized professional development in pedagogy for dual language education and biliteracy.

           11.  Is there an after-school program in Spanish for students in the dual language program?

    No, there is currently no after-school program in Spanish for students in the Dual language program.  

            12.  Is there a Spanish Dual Language/immersion Pre-K in CCS?

    Chatham County Schools Pre-K programs serve students from a variety of language backgrounds and work to use this diversity as a strength in our Pre-K programs. However; no dual language specific programs are currently offered.

           13.  Is there a district summer school program specifically for students in the Spanish Dual Language program?

    No. Families interested or in need of additional support through the summer should contact individual schools regarding opportunities for summer learning. Chatham County Schools does have some possible resources available to parents as part of our Summer Learning Page.

    Parent Support/Involvement

     

    1. How can I help my child if I do not speak the target language?

    Teachers provide assignments on which students can work independently.  Parents who do not speak the target language can support their children in a variety of ways, including using teacher-provided resources, daily engaging children about what they are learning, providing bilingual resources and dictionaries. Parents are also encouraged to read in English daily at home with the child to continue native language and literacy skill development, which will transfer to the target language.  Parents may also refer to our Parent Resource Page on the Chatham County website for additional supports and ideas.

          2.  How can parents support and contribute to the dual language program?

    Dual Language are encouraged to support their teachers, the classrooms and the school similar to any parent. Parents are encouraged to sign up as volunteers with the school, as well as participating in the PTA. Additionally, many of our schools support programs that highlight the school’s cultural and linguistic diversity. Parents are encouraged to volunteer to share and be a part of these programs.