May 31, 2017 – The Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) proudly celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Dual Immersion Spanish-English Program at Voorhies Elementary School on Saturday, May 20, 2017. The event celebrated the past, present, and future of the program and included student showcases, special guests, food, music, and Folkloric dancers.
The Dual Immersion Program aims at bilingualism where students master English and Spanish at a high academic level. The program has native speakers of English and native speakers of Spanish. Parents and their students make a commitment to participate in the Dual Immersion Program from Kindergarten through Sixth Grade. Learning comes alive as both languages are explored through literature, mathematics, science, and history.
“The Dual Immersion program will ensure that we have students who are fully bilingual by speaking, understanding, reading and writing at an academic level,” said Erick Casallas, Supervisor of the English Language Learners Department of BCSD. “The 21st century requires more prepared people and mastering more than one language helps you find more opportunities.”
Lupe Quiñonez is one of the eleven teachers in Dual Immersion at Voorhies and has been a part of the program for 17 years. “It is nice to hear when students converse very easily in any language,” she said. “The relationship between two languages and grades is very interesting. I think being bilingual helps to stimulate the students’ brains and we find that they get very good grades and excel in comparison to students who only speak one language.”
Nicholas Hernandez is an alumni of Voorhies Elementary School and will be studying at the University of California Los Angeles in the fall. “Mastering another language not only made me bilingual, but bicultural,” he said. “At Voorhies I was able to learn Spanish, and that helped me communicate better with my grandmother and my relatives in Mexico.”
“The Dual Immersion Program taught me how to be fluent in two languages, an opened many doors of opportunities,” said Viridiana Ramirez, a teacher and a proud Voorhies alumni.
More than 3,000 students have successfully completed the Dual Immersion Program since its inception. A total of 268 students were enrolled for the 2016-2017 school year.
For more pictures of the event, CLICK HERE!