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Adventure Elementary Spanish Lit Program
In Mapleton, unique school models are an essential component of being a District of Choice. We recognize that as individuals, students learn in a variety of ways that best align with their academic interests and goals. As one of our Expeditionary Learning (EL) schools, Adventure Elementary (PreK-6) promotes active classrooms where students are exposed to rigorous academics, critical thinking, and real-world understanding.
Additionally, Adventure offers a Native Language Spanish Literacy program for grades PreK-3, using an Early Exit Transitional Bilingual model. To participate in the program students must be native Spanish speaker. Adventure’s program is not a dual language program, nor is it program to help students learn Spanish, rather the goal is for students to utilize their native language to help them learn to read. Students will transfer those skills in English literacy beginning in the third grade where they will transition fully to English. The Spanish Lit program does not have a waitlist and can serve up to 60 students in grades K-3, 14 preschoolers in the morning class, and 14 in the afternoon class.
Sherrill Sandstorm and Ilia Schriever, teachers in the program, offered a glimpse of what makes this program so special for Mapleton’s students and families. With more than 30 years of teaching experience between the two of them – 27 of those years at Adventure – Ms. Sandstorm and Ms. Schriever see the benefits of the Spanish Literacy program every day. The program helps students with their native language development by focusing on vocabulary and the transfer of knowledge into English. It also opens the door for families to participate in what is happening in the classroom. From assisting with homework, to translation, parents can take a more hands on approach in their child’s education.
“The Spanish Literacy program is special because it allows parents to be involved in their child’s learning, which is an essential part of language development,” said Ms. Schriever. “Parents are a strong support system for this program. They are like family to me; parents are willing to come to me with their questions about what we are covering in the classroom.”
It’s common for families to express their gratitude for the Spanish Literacy program and the bridge it builds between their native language and English.
“This is a great opportunity for students to build on the language and reading skills they have already developed at home,” said Ms. Sandstrom. There is so much value in biliteracy and this program is an authentic way of learning an additional language.”
Beyond the benefits outside of the classroom, the Spanish Literacy program offers engaging and challenging curriculum for its PreK-3 graders. Ms. Schriever’s kindergarteners are currently learning about rhyming, initial sounds, and letter names and sounds. Her first graders are busy perfecting their fluency, closed and open syllables, phoning and blends. Ms. Sandstorm’s second and third graders are focusing on schools and learning around the world, reading and access to books – and it’s only September!
Ms. Schriever and Ms. Sandstorm have plenty of material they are excited to introduce to their students this year. “We will be incorporating sentence structure, both self and peer assessments, and more writing into our curriculum, which I am very excited about,” said Ms. Schriever.
“Second grade will be learning about dinosaurs and pollinators this year and third grade will have lessons on sharks, the water cycle, and conservation,” said Ms. Sandstorm.
The Spanish Literacy program supports both English and Spanish, so while student will be honing their Spanish language skills, their English will remain sharp. Mapleton supports the importance of a bilingual education throughout a student’s career in the district by offering language courses at every middle and high school.
“A bilingual education experience is so valuable,” said Ms. Sandstrom. “Language is so powerful and important, and this program stresses the value of language for students and their families.” A team of professors at George Mason University in Virginia spent 30 years researching the benefits of a bilingual education and came to the same conclusion. In studies that observed over eight million students in six states and 37 districts, researchers found that dual-language students had higher test scores, better attendance and seemed happier in school (NPR, 2016).
If you would like to learn more about Adventure’s Spanish Literacy program and EL school model visit, https://www.mapleton.us/adventureelementary or call 303.853.1410.