Dual language diversity

Beaverton High School prides itself on its diverse student body, and how its students come together as a community. There are multiple classes and programs within the school that help strengthen the community bond, and one of those is the newly implemented Dual Language Program.

By Noelle Charbonnier

Beaverton High School prides itself on its diverse student body. There are multiple classes and programs within the school that strengthen the community, and one of those is the new Dual Language Program.

For years, BHS has offered Spanish classes for native Spanish speakers to improve their literacy in the language, from Spanish Lit and Comp I, II, and III to AP Spanish. A few years ago, BHS added classes into the Dual Language Program, also known as the TWI (two-way immersion) Program. Currently, BHS offers Physics, Chemistry, STEM Chemistry, AGS 1, and AGS 2 in the Dual Language Program. They hope to add a social studies class in the years to come.

The Dual Language program has three main goals: to provide classes to students who have been in Dual Language programs for years, to provide for students who have never taken a dual language course or a formal Spanish course but are heritage speakers, and to help English Language Learners (ESL). English Language Learners come from other countries and have a certain amount of formal education. They may have English experience, but if they have little or none, the Dual Language Program is a great way to get them plugged into school because they understand the content. The idea of Dual Language is that students in the program take at least half of their classes in Spanish. If students complete this, they are eligible to acquire a Seal of Biliteracy on their diploma.

Eligibility requirements are straightforward. A student must have more than general knowledge of the Spanish language. The content classes of the program (math, science and AP Spanish) are all regular classes but are taught entirely in Spanish. If a student is a native speaker or attended a Two-Way Immersion school in their elementary or middle school years, they might be better off looking at one of the Spanish Lit and Comp classes to improve their literacy in Spanish.

To determine where a student should be placed, BHS has created an online test for students from middle schools with Two-Way Immersion programs. This helps BHS predict where the students will benefit most during their transition from middle to high school.
Vice Principal Andrew Robinson, the director of the Dual Language Program at BHS, talked about how the program has helped students since it has been in place.
“The times that I have looked at grades of the students in those courses, they tend to have an overall rate of… higher grades than the mainstream versions of those courses,” Robinson said. “One semester I looked at our passing rate, which was 100% in the freshman physics class in dual language, where in the mainstream one, it was not 100%.”
BHS is proud to be one of the few schools within the district offering the Dual Language program. With outstanding results, BHS students and staff can expect great things from the Dual Language program in the years to come.

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