By Maria J. Treviño
The decision to implement a middle school Spanish program is one of the best decisions that an educator can make because of the opportunities this program can offer students. There are several options for the implementation of a middle school Spanish program. The school chooses the most appropriate program/programs for the students. Which options below meet the needs of your students?
If there are students entering middle school from a dual language program or an immersion program, the middle school will have to consider options for these students. The best option is to continue a dual language program in middle school. If this is not possible, the school will need to consider offering Spanish 2 and/or 3 to meet the needs of these students. Students from immersion or dual language programs do not start over with Spanish 1 in middle school.
A school may start a middle school program by offering the first half of Spanish 1 in 7th grade and the second half in 8th grade. This course is open to all students. The final scores from both years are added together to obtain the final grade for Spanish 1. Upon successful completion, these students are eligible to register for Spanish 2 in high school.
Spanish 1 can also be implemented beginning in 6th grade. The first half of Spanish 1 is covered in 6th grade and the 2nd half is covered in 7th grade. This course is open to all students. The scores from both years are added together to obtain a final grade. Upon successful completion, these students register for Spanish 2 in 8th grade. Upon successful completion of Spanish 2, the students are eligible to register for Spanish 3 in high school.
The school may offer students who meet certain criteria a full year of Spanish 1H as an honors course in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. If the series begins in 6th grade, then Spanish 2H would be offered in 7th grade, and Spanish 3H would be offered in 8th grade. Any of the grade levels could be split into two years such as Spanish 1H in 6th and 7th grade and Spanish 2H in 8th grade. The students would register in the next successive course in high school.
Another option is to implement a Spanish for Spanish-speakers series if there is a Spanish-speaking population in the school. Students would enroll in Spanish 1SSS in 6th grade, Spanish 2SSS in 7th grade, and Spanish 3SSS in 8th grade. Spanish-speakers do not have to be fluent, native speakers to take these courses. Many students understand Spanish, but may not speak it; others may speak some Spanish or a blend of Spanish and English. Many times neither group can read or write Spanish. These courses, if designed properly, would provide students the opportunity to refine their Spanish skills.
There are many options and variations in implementing a middle school Spanish program. Choose the options that provide the widest range of opportunities for your students.
María J. Fierro-Treviño
Instructional Specialist, Northside Independent School District, San Antonio, TX. (Retired)
Director for Languages other than English, Texas Education Agency (Retired)