Once it was established that the academy would reopen as a TWDI program, several steps were put into play, starting with the hiring of highly-qualified teachers. It is imperative for teachers, especially in bilingual school districts, to be passionate about the program, trained well, and feel supported by the administration.
At the Academy, the two Kindergarten teachers come from ample background in bilingual education and have worked within the district for 20 years. Likewise, the Academy hired a TK TWDI teacher from Spain through the Spain Visiting Teachers Program who has worked in bilingual programs in both Spain and Oakland, California.
As a Mt. Diablo Regional Magnet, they have a bilingual Language Coach, who works in supporting teachers and students with their success within the program. They also serve as the program parent liaison. The bilingual Language Coach helps teachers prepare and create cultural lessons for students to be exposed to different heritages and communities around the world; students can share their new cultural knowledge during monthly assemblies with songs, poems, and presentations.
Not only were bilingual teachers hired, but staff – such as a secretary, music teacher, and PE teacher assistant – were also hired on. It was important for the principal, Marga Marshall, to have her students feel comfortable with a teacher that spoke both languages, as well as expose students in a multitude of settings.
The planning process was a community- and team-effort, giving both educators and parents a voice during the process. The Academy has been meeting the school's vision and mission because of the meaningful and thoughtful planning.
Along with the relaunch, the school district adopted a new Language Arts Curriculum, McGraw Hill. This curriculum offers a reading program with every component and lesson designed to meet the Common Core State Standards for Reading and Language Arts. The district is assigned to a McGraw Hill rep, and he connects with teachers to make sure they have the materials they need to make the classroom environment nurturing.
Continue to the next page to read more about the Holbrook Language Academy …