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DLI Questions & Answers

Why are we teaching our children in a language other than English? 
DLI helps prepare all students to meet the academic, social, and linguistic challenges of living in a global society. In addition to becoming fluent in another language besides English, students learn to appreciate other cultures and come to a deeper understanding of their own. The district is excited to be able to provide students with the opportunity to be bilingual and biliterate, a great asset for the 21st century workforce. This is also one of the goals of the Corvallis Community Vision for Education.

Why is our DLI program focused on Spanish instead of some other language?
Spanish is the most common second language in the United States and the fourth most common spoken language in the world. Also, the Hispanic population is the fastest growing demographic in our nation and in our local community.

Why is it important for the district to offer a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program?
We must meet the needs of a growing number of English Language Learners (ELLs) in our district. Most of these students are native Spanish speakers and the DLI programs at Garfield and Lincoln are the most effective learning environments for these students. Learning to read, write, and speak in both languages makes it easier for ELLs to learn English while still learning the skills they need to progress to the next grade level. This has been proven through research and our own district data. 
The Corvallis School District is facing severe budget cuts, why are you looking to expand a program? 

Even in the face of shrinking budgets, closing the achievement gap is our highest priority. This program would expand our current program to support our growing ELL population at minimal cost. The district spent an additional $180,000 this year to maintain appropriate class size within the English-only classrooms. The cost of the proposed expansion next year is estimated to not exceed $10,000 (the cost of curriculum materials for an extra kindergarten class at both schools). Additionally, this proposal supports the district’s vision of offering second language instruction to all students.

When would the DLI program expansion be implemented?  
The program expansion would be implemented over time. In 2012-2013, all kindergarten classes at Garfield and Lincoln would be DLI. The DLI program would be completely in place for kindergarten through fifth grade in the 2017-2018 school year. 

What happens to students already attending Garfield and Lincoln who don't speak Spanish?
All students who are currently enrolled in English-only (EO) classrooms at Garfield and Lincoln will be able to stay in an EO class through their fifth grade year. 

Will the class sizes at Lincoln and Garfield be similar to other elementary schools in the district? 
Next year, the DLI kindergarten classes would be expected to have the same or higher numbers as all other elementary schools. In the short run, as the English-only classrooms are phased out, we may see a dip in enrollment/class size until the program is school wide.  When the program is fully implemented, class size should be equivalent to other schools.  

How will the DLI program expansion impact district transfers? 
It is possible that families from neighboring schools will request transfers to Lincoln and Garfield so they can participate in their DLI programs.  All kindergarten and first grade students in Lincoln and Garfield boundary areas will attend their neighborhood school, but they also would have the option to request a transfer just as students in the other elementary schools. 

How will neighboring schools (Adams, Wilson, Jefferson) be able to adjust to the increased enrollment and needs associated with incoming students that don't qualify to participate in DLI? 
The impact on neighboring schools will be minimal. For the first two years, we are expecting little or no change in enrollment at neighboring schools. For the subsequent four years, there will be an estimated impact of less than eight students annually per school. This would be within the normal range of enrollment fluctuation for elementary schools in the district. 

Is the enrollment sustainable with two school-wide DLI programs? 
As the program expands and the English-only classrooms are phased out, we may see a drop in enrollment. But when the program is fully in place we are expecting both schools to be at approximately 375 students. 

How will this program impact the distribution of low socioeconomic students among elementary schools?
Currently, Garfield and Lincoln have a disproportionate number of low socioeconomic students (Lincoln 69% and Garfield 78%).  It is possible that this program will redistribute numbers of low socioeconomic students across the district.  Research shows low socioeconomic students are more successful when integrated with higher socioeconomic students.

How will this program affect students on an Individual Education Plan (IEPs)?  
Students on IEPs will continue to be enrolled in their neighborhood schools, including Lincoln and Garfield.  Research has shown that students on an IEP can be successful in a DLI program. A very small number of students with a specific language processing disability may require another placement. The student’s IEP team, including a district representative,  would make that decision.  

How will this affect Title 1 funding?
As the DLI program expands, free and reduced lunch rates will be closely monitored by the district Title 1 coordinator at these schools, as well as at the surrounding schools, to ensure federal funds are disseminated appropriately.  

How will this program affect ELL students whose first language is not Spanish? 
As is the case now, these students will be offered enrollment in the DLI program. If they choose not to participate in DLI, they will have English Language Development instruction in their neighborhood school.

Why can’t the district offer a DLI program at other elementary schools in Corvallis?
Garfield and Lincoln have built strong foundations (bilingual principals, teachers, staff, instructional materials, professional development) to support successful DLI programs. This gives the district the ability to expand the program at these schools with minimal cost.  Offering DLI  at other schools would be an option for the district to explore in the future and could include languages other than Spanish.

How many bilingual teachers will we need to have DLI school-wide programs run successfully? How can we recruit and hire for DLI at the same time we are reducing FTE district-wide? 
Because the program would be phased in gradually, we have enough bilingual staff to teach for the next two years. The four additional staff that would be needed at the elementary level could be added over the course of the next six years. These positions may be filled from positions created through normal staff attrition from retirements and resignations. 

Are there other schools in the state implementing DLI? 
Across the country the number of DLI  schools is growing with hundreds of successful programs currently in place.  In Oregon at least 34 schools have registered as DLI (not necessarily school-wide), including schools in Lake Oswego,  Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Wilsonville, Tigard-Tualatin, Portland, Eugene and Woodburn. 

Does DLI work?  Is the achievement gap closing?
Worldwide research and our own district data show that  dual language is effective in closing the achievement gap. DLI also is very effective in raising the achievement levels of non-ELL students. 

Is there a DLI program at our middle and high schools?  
Both Linus Pauling Middle School and Corvallis High School have DLI programs. As a result of participating in DLI programs at the elementary level, students are able to take content courses such as geography and humanities in Spanish.

I have heard that DLI “just isn’t for everyone.”  Is that true? 
Everyone has the capability of learning a second language. In most developed countries around the world all children learn two, sometimes three languages from an early age. Being from poverty, having a learning disability, or being a minority will not preclude a child from learning a second language successfully.

Contact Us

Instructional Services
Phone: 541-766-4857
Address: 1555 S.W. 35th St., Corvallis, OR 97333
Staff:         Kevin Bogatin, Assistant Superintendent, 541-766-4857 
  Amy Lesan, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, 541-757-5863 
  Leigh Santy, English Lanugage Learners (ELL) Coordinator,  541-757-5781
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