Albemarle Schools Want to Expand Kindergarten Spanish - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Schools Want to Expand Kindergarten Spanish

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Despite budget difficulties, Albemarle County schools want to expand a pilot program that teaches Spanish to kindergartners at Cale Elementary School.

The Spanish class is in its second year and adding a grade level at a time. The Elementary World Language Program is one of five new initiatives the school system is requesting funding to develop next school year.

Right now, kindergarten and first-graders at Cale Elementary School spend 120 minutes a week in Marisol Martinez's Spanish class, learning the same curriculum in Spanish as they are in their English-speaking classrooms.

“They can learn to accept and learn new things and new way of thinking, so that's wonderful for diversity,” Martinez said.

Cale is piloting the program since nearly half of its students begin school with English as a second language.

“We're providing students what they need when they come to school and don't speak English,” said Mike Irani, assistant principal at Cale. “At the same time, we're providing students with an enrichment they wouldn't otherwise have.”

Albemarle County's superintendent is requesting $137,000 in new funding in this year's budget to begin an immersion program at Cale. It would allow parents to place students in classes that spend 50 percent of their time in Spanish and 50 percent in English.

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