Bilingual class celebrates start of inaugural school learning at EGHS

Liam Saluski, Sectional Editor

Ten years is a long time. The stretch from childhood to adulthood. A decade. A dog’s typical lifespan. Ten years is how long the freshmen in the Dual Language program here at Elk Grove High School have been together.

Officially called the Bilingual Leadership Academy, the Dual Language program at EGHS seeks to foster biliteracy, bilingualism, and multi-cultural intelligence. Starting from the age of five, this class of kids from Salt Creek Elementary School were taught Spanish while they were mastering English, or vice versa, in which they were taught English while mastering Spanish.

And this knowledge and the education these students are receiving, is helping them excel in their understanding of the English and Spanish languages.

“Studies show that students who are in dual-language programs are surpassing the high school average in their understanding of the languages,” Jessica Maciejewski, the students’ teacher, said.

The course prepares them for their next few years of high school and the years they’ll spend afterward.

“They will be academically proficient, and confident in the courses they are taking,” Maciejewski said.

But how hard is it for the students enrolled? Growing up learning a language not spoken in your home is challenging, no doubt, but these students have handled that responsibility and hardship with grace.

“It has sort of started to come naturally,” freshman Sabrina Alejandre said, “since we started at such a young age.”

But not all students are as lucky as these. Only a few other grade schools offer a dual- language program aside from Salt Creek, and that number drops even more when you move up a few grades to high school level classes.

“I know there are a lot of kids who could benefit from a course like this,” Maciejewski said.