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Experience with College Hills dual language?

scs01
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Does anybody have experience with the dual Spanish-English program at College Hills, positive/negative/otherwise? We would be interested in hearing about it.
RNAggie
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AG
The CSISD Dual language program has been great for our family thus far. Kids are really enjoying it. We like College Hills Elementary too.

Where are you in the steps to enrolling? There were meetings last month that you needed to attend to put in your application.

What questions do you have?
BCSMom
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My 7th grader went through the program and tested into Spanish 2 honors. Currently have a second grader in the program at College Hills.

The program has been fantastic! My husband speaks Spanish fluently so that's been extremely helpful or the 7th grader helps with homework.

Do you have specific questions?
scs01
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Thanks much to both of you. We're accepted x2 in kindergarten at College Hills so need to decide whether to enroll. My wife went through such a program herself at the elementary level many years ago and so is quite convinced of the worth of dual language generically (and so am I). There are two questions for us, though. First, it's definitely the least convenient of the programs for us travel-wise and so we were disappointed to be placed there for that reason alone-we need to evaluate whether it's worth it vs. the new charter (which is closer and also offers dual language) vs. just staying in our home school. That you can't answer for us directly as it's circumstance-dependent, but general feedback is still helpful.

We had not looked carefully at College Hills for that reason, but now need to decide quickly and so want to hear more. We had heard some vague rumblings of some instability or high teacher turnover in the College Hills program. These are mainly second-hand rumors to us, but with little firsthand information at all we wanted to check into it as well as we can. After all, dual language is no silver bullet if the program can't keep good teachers around. The kids still need to learn math, science, history, etc. So any information specific to College Hills on general program stability, quality of the teachers, and quality of the administration is what we're after here.
1.618
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My 3 kids all went through Dual Language at College Hills. It was a great elementary school and the DL program was terrific. I looked over the current teacher list. I see familiar names (either teacher or paraprofessional) in all grades except 2nd. One of the kinder teachers, B Newland, taught 4th grade when my two younger kids went through. One of the 3rd grade DL teachers that my kids had moved up to 5th grade at Oakwood. We did experience a few teacher changes over the years but nothing of concern. Some teachers left to stay home after pregnancies. A few followed spouses out of the area for job changes. Nothing that you would not experience in the non-DL program.

As far as comparing the program to the new charter school, I don't think that they are the same. My understanding is the the new charter school is teaching 2 foreign languages but CSISD DL program teaches IN a foreign language. It is very different as my high schoolers learned when they took up a new foreign language in 9th grade. My high schoolers understand now why people don't generally pick up a foreign language in high school due to the way it is taught. It is anchored to the primary language so there is alot of translating going on. In immersion programs, like CSISD DL, the kids are taught IN Spanish and there is not translating back and forth. You also get alot of education in cultural aspects in the immersion program that you don't get in a foreign language class.

Is it worth the drive? Only you can answer that for your family. I think that DL is a unique experience and one that you can't easily replicate at any other time in your child's life without moving to a foreign country.

Edit: I looked at the new IL Texas charter school website. They do seem to be immersion 50/50 in Spanish/English through the elementary years. I'm a fan of immersion so I think it is great that is how they implement their foreign language.
Oogway
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Here is a different perspective for you: we didn't do dual language for any of our children and now wished we had! My son actually said that he wished he would have gone that route as he did have a harder time learning Spanish and his friends on his team that went through the program were quite capable comparatively. Take it for what it's worth. Each family has to do what's best for them.
scs01
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Thanks for the perspectives. Concerning stability, we talked to the district about it. They told us that a few years ago they were noticing turnover problems amongst bilingual teachers generally (not just at College Hills) and instituted some recruitment retention programs which seem to have fixed the problem. So the friend-of-a-friend feedback we heard on that point probably had some basis in fact but seems not to be an ongoing concern.

The incoming charter does do immersive dual language, as far as I can tell, with 50% of instruction in Spanish (or 45-45-10, English-Spanish-Mandarin). Can't see much benefit to going with an unknown quantity vs. an established and well-regarded program outside of the convenience factor, but we'll look more into it too.
Fleen
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Great program, great school!
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