Chinese Immersion Program
Barrington's “Bridge to Chinese” is a K-12 language and culture program that is designed to develop pre-advanced speakers of Chinese by graduation from Barrington High School. This program was initiated with the support of a 2010 Federal Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant, a long standing program of the United States Department of Education. This federal grant was discontinued nationwide in the spring of 2012. However, the Barrington 220 Board of Education decided to continue the program in order to fulfill the original vision.
The Chinese immersion program (a 50-50 model) began in the 2011-12 school year with both a kindergarten and a first grade cohort (approximately 90 students). More than 160 students are currently enrolled in grades K-3 across 2 separate schools in the district. Each year, an additional grade level cohort will be added to the program until a complete K-12 track is established. When the immersion students reach the middle and high school levels, they will continue their study of Chinese through the content areas, while the amount of class time devoted to Chinese Language Arts will decrease. The specific design of the secondary program is under development.
Spanish Dual Language Program
The Dual Language program is comprised of classes whose students are 50% native English speakers and 50% native Spanish speakers. Classes in kindergarten, first and second grade are taught by highly qualified bilingual teachers who are assisted by bilingual aides. Each student develops literacy in Spanish. By mid second grade, English literacy instruction begins. Thus, in the intermediate grades, one teacher may be English dominant and one may be Spanish dominant. Instructional materials are available in both languages and correspond to the adopted curriculum for district 220 for each grade level. As students progress through the program, they will master academic content skills in both languages as teachers vary the language in which the content units are taught.
District 220 has adopted the 90-10 format for the dual language program. Research shows this to be a more effective model than the 50-50. In the 90-10 model, instruction in kindergarten and first grade will be delivered 90% in Spanish and 10% in English.