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Volume 4

February 2014

Las Noticias
A periodic newsletter of the Spanish Immersion Program at Ventana Vista Elementary School

Save the Dates!

Wednesday, March 19 6:00-7:00 PM An evening of Celebration & Information
For Immersion Parents

Dear Immersion Parents, Welcome to the second edition for the 2013-14 school year of our newsletter just for Spanish Immersion families at Ventana Vista! Included in this volume: Immersion Parent Survey Analysis Building Community Plans for Middle School Fliers for 2 exciting upcoming events A link introducing our new blog! We greatly enjoy working with your children, and very much appreciate your ongoing support. Sincerely, Kim Boling

Friday, April 25 6:00-8:00 PM Spanish Movie Night

For ALL VV Families

***see info later in newsletter with details


Our Spanish Immersion Webpage

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Gr. 3 Immersion Students with guest teachers from the UAs Project SEED, a new and exciting partnership!

Ongoing THANKS to our 2013-14 Spanish Immersion Advisory Board: Amy Acua Kindergarten Immersion Teacher Norma Fregoso Kindergarten Parent Molly Sax Kindergarten parent Maria Jimenez-Baca 1st Grade Immersion Teacher Brittany DeFazio 1st Grade English Partner Steve Przymus 1st Grade Parent Joan McKee 2nd Grade English Partner Maribel Miranda 2 Teacher

Your Thoughts Matter!

In December, a survey about our Spanish Immersion Program was sent electronically to all (182) VV Immersion families. We had 51 responses (28% return rate), representing the following grade levels: Kdg 13 families Gr. 1 11 families Gr. 2 14 families Gr. 3 9 families Gr. 4 14 families Survey results revealed: parents average (mean) comfort level with their childs (childrens) SPANISH LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT (1=not comfortable; 5=very comfortable): 4.14 parents average (mean) comfort level with their childs (childrens) ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT (1=not comfortable; 5=very comfortable): 4.01 parents average (mean) comfort level with THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF LANGUAGE ACQUISITION AND HOW IT LOOKS IN OUR PROGRAM (1=not comfortable/no knowledge; 5=very comfortable/lots of knowledge): 3.61 There were also many comments in response to the questions posed. The Advisory Board met in January to Analyze survey results. Their summary follows in this newsletter.

Grade Immersion

Michelle Martinez 2nd Grade parent DeDe Plante 3rd Grade Immersion Teacher Holly Knutson 3rd Grade English Partner Maria Orozco 4th Grade Immersion teacher Amy Hawkins 4th Grade English Partner Natasha Escalada-Westland (4th Grade and 2nd Grade Parent) Christie Iacomini (4 grade and 2 Grade parent) Kim Boling Principal Sheryl Castro CFSD World Languages Coordinator
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Parent Survey Analysis

Our Advisory Board met on January 23, 2014 to analyze the results of the survey sent to all Spanish Immersion families in December 2013. Prior to the meeting, advisory Board Members were sent all survey results, including comments, and asked to come prepared to share strengths noted, as well concerns with possible action steps for addressing them. Below is a summary of this analysis.
STRENGTHS of the VV Spanish Immersion Program There was an overall sense of satisfaction with the program; lots of positive comments. Parents trust teachers as professionals, and give them much credit for the success of the program. Parents are excited to see their children eager to learn and using Spanish outside of school (even outside of the US!). Students are able to speak with Spanish-speaking relatives and make new friends with native Spanish speakers great intercultural connections. Fluency the questions that students have at upper grades are more about CONTENT vs. the meaning of the language Parents are selecting the program for all the right reasons; they want bilingualism for their children, as well as to enrich their academic experience and learning. This fosters a great attitude toward language learning It is a desirable program that is attracting students/families to VV/CFSD There is a real enthusiasm from parents, strong commitment/buy-in The program continues to grow and develop and improve. Evidence of this is seen as students progress through the grades. Students language proficiency, as well as their self-confidence and selfesteem are growing! Parents are impressed with the amount of academic and language learning that is taking place. Songs are fun and effective for learning the language in the early grades. Developmental language acquisition/layering its happening as intended! Parents like the connections being made between the English and Spanish sides Visit this link to our new IMMERSION INQUIRIES blog! This is a place for parents to ask questions about dual language and language acquisition and have them answered by the experts!


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Parent Survey Analysis, cont.

CONCERNS Fear of the future POSSIBLE ACTION STEPS Lay out plans more in advance, whenever possible (teacher assignment, middle school plans, etc.) Create a bank of videos showing what students know and are able to do at each level Create a bank of videos showing parents and/or teachers answering FAQ Communication Start blogging Steve volunteers to start this from parent and language acquisition perspective, also with input from UA colleagues (ACTFL guidelines, transfer of knowledge; mirroring aspect of teaching; literacy development struggling readers in immersion) Monthly or bi-monthly meetings with teachers Email with link to teacher websites Video showing continuum of progress Continue to respond to individual parent queries Utilize a uniform template for all immersion websites familiarity; frequent reminders to check teacher websites; teachers include website check as part of homework; put link to website as part of teacher signature on email (at Curriculum Night and/or Parent Evening mid year) Maintaining Program Integrity/Class Size Consider number of immersion students independent of number of regular students at a grade level in order to maintain 2 classes of each per grade level with a consistent structure from year to year

All suggested action steps are being taken into consideration. Some steps can be accomplished right away, while others will take further planning and development. See later in this newsletterand stay tuned for more!

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Building Community Through Community Circle Time

All four classes in 3rd Grade at Ventana Vista have begun a new tradition to further foster gradelevel friendships and bonding. In addition to common break times and mixing classes for math, the four 3rd grade classes are meeting twice a month on Tuesdays for minutes after lunch to share songs, stories and fun. Students begin by meeting with a randomly assigned 3rd grade teacher, some students from each class, to play a greeting game such as introducing yourself and then using a variety of greetings in response (Hola, Hi, Aloha, Shalom) to greet your neighbor. Students and teachers then meet in a common place such as an empty classroom or the upstairs patio and form one large circle, hence the name, "Community Circle." They sing songs, discuss common issues, and play games. Finally, all Community Circle sessions end with the grade-level Jody or cadence song familiar to our nation's soldiers. Parents of 3rd graders, ask your child if they know this chant/song, as well as a new Spanish song called "Mi Cuerpo Hace Msica!" The 3rd grade teachers report that they have enjoyed watching the students participate in larger social groups, calling classmates by name, and they anticipate more friendships to blossom throughout the rest of the school year.

Whats Around the Corner?

Plans for Immersion at Middle School
Plans are underway for our first group of immersion students to enter Esperero Canyon Middle School in the fall of 2015! Students will enjoy a series of specially designed courses that will allow them to use Spanish as a tool to learn more content and/or to enhance problem-solving skills, related to local, state, and/or international issues. They will also continue to develop their Spanish literacy skills through the use of Spanish language literature and informational text. 4th grade parents were recently invited to a meeting to hear about these plans, in addition to our 5th grade and middle school programs.

Say What??
NEW BLOG Designed Especially for VV Immersion Parents! Please check out this excellent resource designed by VV Parent and SI Immersion Advisory Board Member, Steve Pryzmus. He and his colleagues in the UA Department of Applied Linguistics will be happy to respond to your questions and inquiries. http://immersioninquiries.wordpress .com/ A direct link from our Spanish Immersion website will soon be available.

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