Providence Schools to Offer Dual Language Pathway for Middle Schoolers

 Providence Schools to Offer Dual Language Pathway for Middle Schoolers
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Gilbert Stuart Middle School-based program will launch this fall with 104 seats

As part of its school redesign efforts, Providence Public Schools will launch a dual language program at Gilbert Stuart Middle School this fall. The program will offer 104 seats to interested students entering sixth grade for the 2021-22 school year. These students will continue as a dual language cohort through seventh and eighth grades. When the program reaches capacity, it should serve more than 300 students in grades 6-8—comprising approximately 1/3 of the enrollment at Gilbert Stuart Middle School.

In a dual language immersion program, students alternate between English and Spanish instruction, so that they learn all core content in two languages. Enrollment in the program is typically split between students fluent in English and students fluent in Spanish.

The program at Gilbert Stuart is the next step in the ambitious expansion of dual language offerings in the Providence Public School District (PPSD). The district currently runs the Leviton Dual Language Academy for grades K-5 and has been growing additional dual language programs at Lauro, Lima and Spaziano Elementary Schools. 

The Gilbert Stuart Dual Language Pathway is open to all interested rising PPSD sixth graders with a demonstrated proficiency in Spanish, but preference will be given to students who are currently enrolled in dual language or bilingual programs in their current elementary schools. 

“This expansion reflects our deep commitment to expanding dual language options for the students and families of Providence,” said Angélica Infante-Green, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “These programs deliver for students, both in terms of academic progress and responding to the concerns of our community. We will continue to add more options as we support success for all our students.”

Approximately one-third of all Providence Public School students are considered multilingual learners and receive services to support English language acquisition. Expanding dual language programs is one of the commitments contained in the district’s Turnaround Action Plan.

The Rhode Island Department of Education’s recently released draft, “Rhode Island’s Strategic Plan for Multilingual Learner Success,”​ specifically lists the expansion of dual language program as an action step that supports high-quality bilingual/bicultural programs for multilingual learners. 

Superintendent Harrison Peters said, “The expansion of dual language programs delivers on an important promise in our Turnaround Action Plan, that every family will have the opportunity to choose among multiple excellent instructional programs.” Peters added that he hopes to continue building a dual language pathway that will eventually span grades K-12.

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