SC middle schoolers gaining fluency through Spanish classes - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

SC middle schoolers gaining fluency through Spanish classes

Maria Tran teaches entirely in Spanish to 41 students each day. Maria Tran teaches entirely in Spanish to 41 students each day.

It's often said that it's easier for kids to learn a foreign language. In Sioux City, one group of students started in kindergarten at Irving Elementary.

Today, they're at North Middle School and nearly fluent, after years of a curriculum that has both English and Spanish lessons. You've probably seen a classroom like this. Students are talking about fairy tales, but this one's a bit different.

Inside this classroom, everything is in Spanish from the instructions on the board, to the maps of the world.

"I think the kids are wonderful. Since the beginning, they are very enthusiastic. They really want to learn," said Tran.

Maria Tran is in her first year at North Middle, teaching reading and social studies in Spanish. Most of the kids in her class have been together since first grade or earlier.

"We both learned the same thing since we were smaller, so we get along better," said Garcia.

For students like sixth grader Brittney Hughes, it's a great way to get ahead.

"My parents just wanted me to learn another language, just so I could get a better education," said Hughes.

It hasn't always been easy.

We have had some kids that have dropped the class because they couldn't keep up with the work and with the language," said Tran.

But for these students, their strongest support system is each other.

"Unless you didn't know a word in Spanish, you could ask it in English and they'd tell you it. But, you can ask your friend or a teacher for help," said Hughes.

"I have no difficulty learning anything in Spanish or English, and if somebody asks me something, it doesn't really matter, I can pick it up really fast," said Jose Sebastian, a sixth grader.

And Tran says they're already well on their way to becoming bilingual.

"They're already fluent. They already understand both languages... no problem," said Tran.

"It really doesn't matter if it's in English or Spanish, you'll know it really quick and stuff," said Nathaly Samaniego, a sixth grader.

She says that's the way the world is moving.

"Right now, I think the kids and people need to know more than one language to succeed in the future," said Tran.

Tran says they're already seeing some of that success today. The program will conclude when the students graduate from North Middle school.

If you're interested in enrolling your child in the program Irving Elementary is now accepting applications.

For more information, call Irving Elementary School at 279-6834 or the Dual Language Head Teacher at 279-6079.


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