• School offers mix of English and Spanish

    By: Michelle Linn


    Tulsa, Okla - "A hidden treasure tucked away in north Tulsa."

    That's how the principal describes Tulsa Public Schools' Dual Language Immersion School.

    It's made up of 189 students, in grades Pre-K through 3rd, and it's contained within a hallway inside Monroe Demonstration School, off N. Lewis Ave., near E. 46th Street North.

    "This is the place to be if you want your child to learn a second language or to be open minded about different cultures," said Liliane Vannoy, Dual Language Immersion School Principal.

    This program is different than the language immersion programs offered by Zarrow International School and Eisenhower International school, because 50% of the students speak Spanish and 50% of the students speak English.

    It's a balance Vannoy works hard to maintain.

    "This allow us to develop the fluency of a second language faster, because the students will be interacting with staff and other students that are native speakers of the language," said Vannoy.

    This year Tulsa Public Schools recruited 12 experienced teachers from Spain.

    Three of them are joining the staff at Dual Language Immersion School.

    "So many college students are going abroad, and I'm saying abroad is right here.  It's when we have 50% of the population that is a native speaker of Spanish. It's here, where you have staff members that are from Spain, from Mexico, from Venezuela, from Brazil, from El Salvador. So abroad is right here, in the backyard of north Tulsa," said Vannoy.

    At Dual Language Immersion School, science and social studies are taught in Spanish.

    Math is taught in English.

    Starting in second grade, students do reading assignments in both languages.

    "Our mission is to develop global citizens. So they are prepared when they leave school. They're better prepared to be leaders in the community, in terms of the job market, in terms of being able to interact with others that come from different languages, and different culture backgrounds," said Vannoy.

    "The students they come from all quadrants of Tulsa Public Schools. All we ask of them is to be willing to learn a second language and be open minded about other cultures," said Vannoy.

    She says parents see the benefits in teaching kids a second language, but can be intimidated and worried they won't be able to help with homework in a foreign language.

    "We do not translate homework, because the child is going to develop fluency doing their work and interacting with other students," said Vannoy.

    Unlike the language immersion programs at Zarrow International School and Eisenhower International School, Dual Immersion School offers Pre-K.

    Also, unlike Zarrow and Eisenhower, there is no waiting list to begin the program, and students do not have to test into the program.

    Vannoy says there is a short waiting list for kindergarten.

    They don't accept students after kindergarten.

    Vannoy says they are adding fourth grade to the program next year, and they'll move into their own school building.

    The district is remodeling the old Bunche School building at N. Lewis Ave. and E. Apache Street, and it's expected to be ready by next summer.

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