The genesis of a district-wide Spanish FLES program

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In this paper, we describe the systematic planning and subsequent implementation of a new system-wide Spanish program at the primary level in one of the school districts in suburban Pittsburgh, PA. We discuss the steps involved in selecting the target language — involving community, teacher, and board consultation; the incorporation of the language program into the overall curriculum of the district; and the active participation by all senior administrators, including the superintendent, in a year-long planning effort that culminated in teacher selection, curriculum development and in-service training for all primary school faculty members. We then describe the current program which is presently in its third full year of implementation. This program involves all children in kindergarten, grade one, and grade two with plans to add one additional cohort each year until all children in the school system are included. We present information concerning the language and attitudinal development of the participating children. Through a series of detailed interviews with the stakeholders of the program, we analyze the planning and implementation process. We identify and discuss six themes that emerge across interviewees. We conclude with a discussion of factors that have contributed to the successful implementation of this exemplary program.


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