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St. Vrain school board adopts second language curricula

Purchase includes virtual reality program for language immersion
globe and book, international learning, stock photo

The St. Vrain Valley School District adopted four curricula related to world languages on Wednesday.

The school board unanimously approved the purchase of the four world language curricula for just over $1 million.

That included Wayside Publishing for Spanish 1-4, AP Spanish and French 1-3; Vista Higher Learning for AP Spanish, French 4 and AP French; One Way Education for Spanish for Spanish Speakers; and ImmerseMe Language Learning. The curricula included both middle school and high school classes.

“I want to say this is one of the more intricate adoptions we have,” Assistant Superintendent of Assessment and Curriculum Kahle Charles said.

Instructional coordinator Shauna Polson highlighted the various strengths of each program, including ImmerseMe, which uses virtual reality to teach students languages.

“Although many language teachers wish they could offer their students the opportunity to travel abroad, they appreciate that ImmerseMe provides the next best thing which is cultural and language immersion in a cinematic experience,” Polson said.

Charles said adding other languages to the ImmerseMe program would be easily doable if the district decides it wants to expand those offerings.

Spanish for Spanish Speakers is a program at St. Vrain that has grown from a smattering of students to hundreds now using the program to strengthen their biculturalism and biliteracy, according to Charles.

“It has given our native Spanish speakers a real opportunity to blossom,” he said.

After a committee evaluation, the curricula were piloted with 25 teachers and approximately 3,100 students this school year.

Thomas Jacobson, a Spanish teacher at Longmont High School, used the curricula with his students including the programs for AP Spanish. His students took their AP tests Wednesday morning.

“Thanks to this I really have not ever felt so confident about a group of students going into the AP exams,” he said.

Along with purchasing the four curricula, the district has budgeted $30,000 for initial professional development taking place this summer.