A boost for bilingual education | News

Denison Elementary School’s bilingual program got a big boost Friday when representatives from Pella in Carroll presented a check for $2,150.

Representatives of K-4 classes involved in the bilingual program were on hand to thank Pella and hear from Pella representatives why being bilingual is important.

Representing Pella were Dustin Katje, plant manager for Pella in Carroll; Jeff Heuton, Human Resources Manager; Ashley Larson, recruitment and onboarding specialist; and Yuliana Rivas, Bilingual Training Coordinator.

Katje said that having the ability to speak another language is essential today.

“We have just launched our own bilingual program,” he added.

He said Pella is currently experiencing exponential growth and part of what makes Pella so successful is the opportunities to give back to the communities it serves.

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“Part of our involvement in private enterprise gives us the opportunity to give back and donate in the communities where our team members live, which we are very proud to be able to do,” said Katje.

Larson taught Spanish at Denison High School.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to have a program like this at Denison,” she said. “I’m so glad Heather took the initiative to do this and that you’re all a part of it.”

Heather is Heather Langenfeld, Director of Elementary School Improvement/Director of ELL Services.

Larson also told the students that they will have so many opportunities to not only make their families proud, but also to succeed in the community.

“I help a lot of people with Spanish and English in my job, so if I didn’t know Spanish, I couldn’t have gotten the job that I have,” Larson continued. “Now I can help a lot of people who have come from Mexico, Central America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. And all of those people can come and work at Pella and get training in Spanish, just like you all do. school days.

Rivas said: “You have to learn both languages. Being bilingual is very important now.

“We have so much diversity, at Denison in particular, that this program is going to help you in the future. Keep up the good work. Learn as much as you can. Thanks to the teachers for being patient and showing the kids everything they know.

Her son, Jaylen Centeno, is enrolled in the bilingual program.

“He reads a lot more Spanish, so I know this program works,” Rivas said.

Larson’s son, Maikel Perez Larson, is also in the bilingual program

Katje said the donation came from the Carroll mining site.

“We have a lot of team members who reside in Denison, and we want to be able to support some of the dual-language efforts Denison schools are going through,” he said. “We want to be able to help that succeed and to be able to help those students learn English and Spanish.

“It’s essential these days that they have the ability to succeed and part of that is being able to understand both languages,” Katje continued. “Thinking about the work environment, especially in manufacturing, where manufacturing goes, that’s also a critical part of our success. It’s a success for those kids growing up today, just as it’s a success for us in manufacturing.

He added that giving back to the communities where team members live is something that Pella takes great pride in, and that Pella is always looking for how it can help those communities and help students succeed.

This is the fourth year of the bilingual program at Denison Community Schools. It started in the fall of 2018 with the kindergarten and first grade levels. However, first graders who were in the program at that time went to summer camp.

Approximately 240 students, K-4, are in the bilingual program.

The program will be offered in grade five next year. Nate Pardun will teach on the English side and Bella Costanza on the Spanish side.

Costanza will be new to the neighborhood; she will be graduating from Briar Cliff University this spring

Pardun has been a Broadway ESL teacher for two years.

They are both graduates of Denison High School.

The current teachers of the bilingual program are as follows.

K: Mayra Bermudez and Stephanie Schmadeke

1st: Mayra Velazquez and Megan Schroeder

2nd: Vanesa Sanchez and Theresa Huntley

3rd: Katie Pick and Kim Aguilera

4th: Monica Lara and Katelyn Hodne

Langenfeld said Pella’s donation will provide a great resource for teachers for items they need more.

“They got feedback from their students about things in the classroom that the kids would like to see,” she said.

Some of the things recommended so far are more Spanish books in Spanish classrooms and interactive learning games. Flexible seating in some of the younger classes is another possibility.

Langenfeld hears many stories of children in the program going to the park and conversing with people in Spanish.

Another example of student fluidity occurred in the principal’s office at Broadway Elementary.

Langenfeld said a few newcomers had just entered fourth grade, and Braylon Urich, a fourth-grade bilingual room student and the son of principal Trevor Urich, was in the office and had a conversation in Spanish with the parents. new students. .

Trevor Urich added, “The family had a question about using Google Classroom and Braylon was at the office, so I asked him to help show them how to submit an assignment. He explained how to use the Chromebook to complete their work. »

Urich gave another example of how the bilingual program works.

“I usually deliver the announcements each day to share our schedule and important events at school and in our community. Each week on Friday, a student from the dual language program presents the announcements for students in Spanish. The students take turns doing this each week and it has been a great way to share their growing Spanish language with all of our students and staff. »

Langenfeld said she and teachers also see success in test scores.

“We’re starting to see these kids really shine and pass their assessments,” she said.

Assessments are conducted in English. However, the district also has the option of giving the assessment in Spanish. These tests are not sent but kept for internal use.

Students will also take ISAAP (Individual Student Assessment Accessibility Profile), a basic skills test.

“Our data is similar to what the trends and our research has shown us, that once they get to grades four and five, they’ll really start to thrive in both languages,” said said Langenfeld. “And that’s what we’re starting to see.”

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