The Spanish program uses a “90-10” model where 90% of class time is spent speaking Spanish, a proportion that diminishes every year until English is spoken half of the time in fifth and sixth grade.
The grants mean $300,000 annually for three years for Spanish and five years for Korean for a total $2.4 million.
“It’s completely amazing, almost unheard of that a district would get two [Foreign Language Assistance Program] grants, especially one our size,” said Joanna Junge, director of special projects and intercultural education for Glendale Unified.
Students score as high or higher in English reading and math, earn high SAT scores and by the fifth year of a dual-language program, students perform at a high level throughout their academic careers, studies show.
New students who have moved from a foreign country also learn English more quickly through a dual-language education than through English-only language classes, administrators said.
District and school officials will travel to San Diego in December to accept a Golden Bell award from the California School Boards Assn., a recognition for districts with excellent programs in a certain category like curriculum, English learning acquisition and school safety.
In turn, Glendale Unified officials will show off the dual-language program that netted the hefty federal grants.
“As the program has grown, it is wildly amazing how successful these students are,” Glendale Unified Supt. Michael Escalante said.
Glendale Unified was also selected as the bilingual District of the Year 2009, a Presidential Award given by the California Assn. for Bilingual Education.