Why focus on Spanish immersion?
- Latino and Hispanic students consistently score 25-30 scale points lower on state math and reading exams and have the highest high school drop-out rate of whites, blacks, and Latinos.
- Hispanic and Latino students now make up 25% of all elementary, middle, and high-school students.
- Hispanic parents often have difficulty communicating with their child’s teachers, administrators, and school system because of their English language ability.
As if these barriers to success were not enough, many Hispanic and Latino students in North Carolina face discrimination on the basis of their skin color, culture, and linguistic background. Many of these bright, passionate students begin to internalize these external prejudices and see their bilingualism and multiculturalism as something that makes them different or inferior, not as the rich and important parts of themselves that allow them to succeed in ways that English-only speakers cannot.
Addressing these concerns requires that we look at our students as whole people that deserve social, cultural, and familial support as much as they do academic support.
Studies have shown that literacy skills gained in Spanish are actually transferable to English and any other language a child speaks. This is the crux of ISLA’s unique mission – not only are our students becoming bilingual and discovering the value of their native language and culture, but each week they gain crucial literacy and science skills that can carry over to English and help them reach their full potential. We know that when ISLA students become confident in who they are, where their family is from, and what they can do, then there is no limit to the ways they can impact their world.