FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Dual Language Program, also referred to as the Two-Way Program, will continue its growth over the next few years.
The district plans on growing the dual language Portuguese Program to twelfth grade, according to director Gen Grieci.
The dual language programs are currently offered in Spanish or Portuguese.
The Spanish program started in 1990 and is “a very established program,” Grieci said.
The Portuguese program was established in 2018 and “is growing strong.”
Currently, 14.5 percent of the Framingham Public Schools district is enrolled in one of the dual-language programs.
There are 1,115 students in the dual-language Spanish program and 223 students in the Portuguese one.
Michelle Kolbe, the mother of a young student in the Portuguese program at Potter Road School, chose to enroll her son in a dual-language program halfway through kindergarten when the opportunity arose.
“We took the leap of faith and we could not be happier […] the teachers, the administration, they are all just absolutely wonderful and we’re really looking forward to having new families come join and make the community even better,” Kolbe said at an information session on December 11, 2019.
The three pillars of the dual-language programs are bilingualism and biliteracy, high academic achievement and sociocultural competence.
“Our expectation is that we’re teaching all students, regardless of language, the district curriculum, and standards so they’re meeting what you expect a child graduating from Framingham schools to know, and they’re also becoming bilingual,” said assistant director Jennifer LaBollita.
Students in the dual-language program come from all different backgrounds. Some only speak English, some only speak the partner language (Spanish or Portuguese) and some are already bilingual. This diversity in the classroom encourages students to learn from each other as well.
Dual-language program staff is working to expand the program throughout Framingham schools.
The program will expand in the 2020-2021 school year at the elementary school level.
The dual lanaguage Spanish program is present at Barbieri Elementary School in grades K-5.
As of next year, the Dual Language Spanish Program will be offered at Brophy Elementary School in K-2.
Walsh Middle School offers the program in grades 6-8 and Framingham High School offers the program in grades 9-12.
The dual lanaguage Portuguese program, which was introduced last year, will add one additional grade level each year.
Next year, Potter Road Elementary will offer the program in grades K-3 and Woodrow Wilson Elementary will offer it in grades K-2.
By the 2023-2024 school year, Grieci anticipates the DL Portuguese program to expand to Cameron Middle School.
It will expand to the high school by the 2026-2027 school year.
Placement into a dual language program is based on a lottery system. According to the program’s website, in order to preserve the integrity of the program, “parents are asked to carefully consider both the appropriateness of and their desire for this choice for their child, as well as the long-term commitment that is required.”
Parents must sign a letter of commitment to be considered for the program.
UPDATED: A previous version spelled Michelle Kolbe’s name incorrectly.