This time next year students at Bethesda Elementary School and two other elementary schools in the Gwinnett County School District will start learning in the district's new dual language program.
"It's a volunteer program that adds to our already excellent foreign language offerings," said John Valentine.
Valentine is the director of foreign language.
In the fall, English-Spanish programs will launch at Bethesda and Annistown. The English-French program will begin at Trip Elementary.
"Fifty percent of the day students will learn elementary school content in the target language, and then for the other 50 percent of the day they will learn the content in English," said Valentine.
Pamela Williams is the new principal at Bathesda.
"I'm very excited about the program. I had the opportunity to teach in a school in south Florida that was a dual language school. It was only for a year. I had the opportunity to see the kindergarten class in action," said Williams.
Williams said she knows, as a parent, how successful the program can be because her daughter was involved in it in Florida.
"She came home every day excited about learning Spanish," said Williams.
The majority of the students at Bethesda and a large portion within the district already speak Spanish.
"For many of our students who are currently learning English, those students are learning both English and content at the same time. What this program allows us to do is make sure those students never miss out," said Valentine.
Valentine said the program will benefit students, the school district and the region.
"There are over 600 international companies right here in Gwinnett County," said Valentine. "Having a program such as this makes our business here happy because they know they will have the work force they need to compete."
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