About Our School

School History

Established in 1977, Longfellow opened as a total-school Spanish language immersion magnet school.  In a total immersion language program, all schooling in the initial years is conducted in the foreign language.  This immersion method was pioneered in Canada, in the 1960’s, to teach the French language to native English speakers.
 
In a total immersion language program, the regular school curriculum is taught through the medium of a foreign language.  Spanish is the only language of instruction from kindergarten through first Grade with our Grade 2 students receiving 90 minutes of English on Wednesday mornings.  English is formally introduced in third grade.  The following information shows the progression of English instruction:
 
                               Spanish Instruction  English Instruction
Kinder - Grade 2              100%                         - 0 -
Grades 3-6                      85%                         15%
Grades 7-8                      30%                         70%   
  
The Longfellow curriculum meets all district and state requirements.  The majority of Longfellow teachers are bilingual in Spanish and English.  Studies have consistently shown that immersion students do as well, and may even surpass, monolingual students on standardized measures of assessment.
 

Spanish Immersion Education

Goals of an Immersion Program
• Develop a high level of proficiency in the foreign language.
• Develop positive attitudes toward those who speak the foreign language and toward the culture.
• Develop English language skills commensurate with expectations for students’ ages and abilities.
• Gain skills and knowledge in the content areas of the curriculum in keeping with stated objectives in these areas.
 
Principles of Immersion Instruction
• Spanish teachers speak to students only in Spanish beginning in Kindergarten.
• Initially in kindergarten, students have the choice to speak in English or Spanish, but as they advance, they are encouraged to only speak  
  Spanish in class.
• As students acquire language, teachers strategically correct student grammar errors in Spanish so that students do no feel inhibited.
• Teachers use visuals, charts, real objects, posters, maps and engage students in hands-on activities to help convey understanding to them.
• Students develop skills that move them from listening and speaking to reading and writing.
• Students learn to read first in Spanish.  The students then transfer their reading skills to English quite easily.