New dual-language program at Pawtucket elementary school

By News Staff

Reporting by Liz Tufts

For the first time in Pawtucket’s history, the youngest students at one elementary school are taking part in a dual-language learning program.

Two of the school’s three kindergarten classes at Nathanael Greene Elementary School are being taught half in English and the other in Spanish.

Principal Monique Jacob says that when the Superintendent of schools approached her about the school becoming to first in the district to try it out, she jumped at the opportunity.

"The goal is to create international citizens who have an ability to communicate in more than just their native language who are able to communicate fluently in two languages," says Jacob.

Of the 37 students, just two come from Spanish speaking homes. The goal is to have them all speaking Spanish fluently by the time they move on to middle school.

Karen Sorrentine teaches the English portion and Pedro Silva teaches the Spanish, and so far, just twelve days into the school year, the students are catching on tremendously.

"I think kindergarten is the grade where you can see the most growth because right now they are like blank pages. It’s amazing to see them from the beginning and see them progress," Silva says.

School officials are looking to add Portuguese and Chinese to other elementary schools in the district in the coming years.

© WLNE-TV 2015