For native English speakers, learning to speak Spanish is a valuable and marketable skill for young adults preparing for life after high school. For students being raised in households where Spanish is the primary language spoken, the ability of educators to communicate directly and effectively with parents can make it easier to encourage their involvement. Factor in that studies show students who are bilingual do better in school, and it becomes clear why Omaha Public Schools created its inclusive and comprehensive Dual Language Program.
At nine schools across the district, students in kindergarten through 12th grade learn to read, write and speak Spanish through content and course work delivered in both languages. At the elementary level, participating students spend half their day learning in English, and the other half learning in Spanish. At the high school level students are required to take four years of Spanish or complete Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish and AP Spanish Literature. Additionally they’re required to earn credits in a variety of dual language courses, like Geography, Mexican-American History, Algebra, Physics and Latin American Studies. One of the most exciting trends is the increased interest of many program graduates to come back and serve the community that served them and their families well.