Spanish Immersion Program Sign Ups
The Fox Chapel Area School District will host a new Spanish Immersion pilot program for 2019-2020 first graders. The sign ups begin April 1, 2019, and run through May 17 and the program will be housed at Kerr Elementary School.
The program, which will be open to current kindergartners from all four elementary schools, will be limited to 25 students. Each school will receive a number of spaces in a random selection based on a ratio of the number of students enrolled in each building. Students who do not currently attend Kerr will be bused to the school. Eighty to 100 percent of the instruction will be provided in Spanish. Special classes, such as art and music, will be in English, as will lunch and recess.
The Spanish Immersion program is one of a kind, said Ashley Constantine, Ed.D., Fox Chapel Area’s executive director of elementary education and instruction.
“We wanted to offer a program that was completely unique to Western Pennsylvania that would give our students an edge academically,” Dr. Constantine said. “The goals of the Spanish Immersion program are to promote high levels of academic achievement, to develop age-appropriate language acquisition in both English and Spanish, and to cultivate cross-cultural competencies in our students.”
The inaugural class will be taught by Alexis Bergau, who currently teaches second grade at Kerr. Mrs. Bergau brings an extensive background in Spanish immersion to the program. She studied in Mexico, was a student-teacher in a school that’s 99 percent Spanish-speaking, and spent the bulk of her career as a teacher at the Ada Vista Spanish Immersion School in Ada, Michigan. Since coming to the Pittsburgh area, she’s taught Spanish at Pittsburgh Public Schools and at La Escuelita Arcoiris, an early childhood Spanish immersion school in Squirrel Hill.
The plan is that once the first-graders enrolled in the initial Spanish Immersion class become second-graders, a new first-grade class will begin. Eventually, the program will be first grade through fifth grade.
To be eligible for admission into the Spanish Immersion program, students must meet Fox Chapel Area’s readiness criteria. English also must be the primary language spoken in the student’s home.