CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WJAR) — Superintendent Victor Capellan announced the creation of a dual language school in Central Falls beginning in fall 2019.
Capellan told NBC 10 News that he wants to utilize the diversity of the student body in the city.
"We already have students and families who have a second language -- Spanish or Portuguese/Creole,” he said Thursday. “This will give students the opportunity to learn English and Spanish, or English, Spanish and also, for some of our Portuguese/Creole students, the opportunity to become trilingual."
Students will be taught by multi-lingual teachers. They'll learn the same things as other children their age, they'll just do it in other languages.
"It will be a 50/50 model,” said Capellan. “Fifty percent of the class will be taught in Spanish, 50 percent in English and then the students will swap back and forth."
The program is due to start with 280 students. Those students will attend the Robertson Elementary School, which will be used exclusively for the dual language program.
The school building is used for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes now. Those students will be re-distributed throughout the district next year to make room for the new program.
Currently, Central Falls offers a dual-language program for first through fifth graders at Veterans Elementary School. There, are 120 students in that program, and Capellan said that the need is strong enough to be able to get to that 280-student mark for next year.
"This is something we're doing. We're seeing some great success with it,” he said. “We know that multi-linguism matters. We know that to compete in a global market, this will give our students the edge."
The new program will be offered to pre-K students all the way through sixth graders. Parents will go through the normal, annual school registration process to enroll their kids in the program.