• Holyoke Expands Dual Language Program by 40%, Providing Program Access to Approximately 120 More Students

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May 20, 2019 by 

Article Credit: HPS.HOLYOKE.MA.US

HOLYOKE, MA – The Holyoke Public Schools is excited to announce the expansion of its innovative dual language program that is offered at the Joseph Metcalf School and the E.N. White School.  Holyoke, home to the first dual language program in Western Massachusetts, is expanding the program as the district strives to realize its vision of a pathway for every student.  Dual language programming provides students with the opportunity to learn all grade level subjects in both English and Spanish by using curriculum aligned with the state’s curriculum frameworks.  Upon high school graduation, dual language students may earn the Seal of Biliteracy, an award designated for students who have attained proficiency in English and at least one additional language.

In the 2019-2020 school year, this two-way immersion program, which currently serves approximately 300 students will expand by 40% to serve approximately 420 students.  Metcalf and E.N. White schools will continue to expand by a grade level and will each add a second preschool dual language class.  “The goal of the program is for students to reach high levels of academic achievement, bilingualism, and biliteracy in a safe and engaging learning environment that values multiculturalism, while preparing students for college and career,” shared Holyoke Public Schools Superintendent/ Receiver Dr. Stephen Zrike, Jr.  “We are thrilled to welcome more students and families into this high-quality, highly in-demand program.”

“We are excited to provide financial support to expand the dual language program to more of our youngest learners,” shared Mayor Alex Morse.  “Learning two languages accelerates our young students’ language and cognitive development.  Our families’ interest in this program is a testament to the success of the dual language program, and we are grateful for their commitment to the Holyoke Public Schools.”

The first dual language program in the district opened with two Kindergarten classes at Metcalf School in the 2014-2015 school year.  In the school year 2016-2017, the program expanded to E.N. White School with the opening of one Pre-K classroom. An additional grade is added every school year at each location.  Next year, the program will be offered to students in Pre-K through grade five at Metcalf School and students in Pre-K through grade two at E.N. White School.  “The plan is to continue to grow our dual language program to support our students’ in their attainment of two languages, which can eventually lead to students earning the Seal of Biliteracy upon graduation,” added Dr. Zrike.

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