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INDIANAPOLIS — Logansport Community School Corporation is one of several Indiana schools to expand its dual language immersion program.

For the 2021-2022 school year, 18 school districts were together awarded $425,000, according to the Indiana Department of Education. This includes 15 school districts receiving funds to expand their programs, and three districts receiving funds to launch new programs.

According to the IDOE, this is a record number of schools receiving grants to establish or expand as part of Indiana’s Dual Language Immersion Program, which helps schools implement more Mandarin, Spanish, French or other language into the academic system.

“Dual immersion programs provide Hoosier students with a head start on developing important language and cultural knowledge that will help them thrive in today’s rapidly changing, global economy,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education. “Research shows when students begin these programs at an early age, they develop enhanced cognitive skills and also improve their performance in other academic areas, helping close achievement gaps and prepare students for additional pathways to lifelong success.”

Created in 2015 by Senate Enrolled Act 267, Indiana’s Dual Language Immersion Program provides grants to schools to either establish new dual language programs or introduce new languages into existing programs. Those programs must begin in either kindergarten or first grade and use an instructional model that provides at least 50% of its instruction in a target language and the remaining percentage of instructional time in English.

Research shows that students enrolled in dual language programs gain a higher proficiency in schools’ core curriculum and develop stronger skills in native and second languages than students in traditional programs, according to IDOE. These programs also help close achievement gaps for English language learners and students from diverse backgrounds.

Reach Kristi Hileman at kristi.hileman@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5150

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