International Spanish Academy

  • Mary Endres Elementary School is proud to be an International Spanish Academy.   International Spanish Academy logo

    • Percentage of native English speakers  50%
    • Percentage of speakers of the target language 49%
    • Percentage of speakers of any other language 1%
    • Time the program has been implemented in the school 14 years (program started in 2004)
      • Subjects taught in Spanish: Spanish Literacy, Science, Social Studies 

    In 2004, the city of Woodstock, IL was experiencing tremendous growth. This prompted a need to change how we were serving students who were learning English. We undertook the enormous task of starting a dual language program at Mary Endres Elementary School. We believe that by operating a 50/50 model for daily instruction and percentage of language learners, students create more social and academic connections, benefit from peer models, and close the gap between language learners.  

    Because every child has a device at Mary Endres, we use technology every day to extend and expand students' knowledge in the target language.  We provide opportunities for all students to engage, collaborate, think critically, explore, and make connections. Through the use of technology, students are able to access authentic texts, take virtual field trips, and communicate with each other through voice/video recordings. We celebrate and respect other cultures by learning about traditions in language and practices. Students partake in hands-on activities with authentic artifacts, music and food to learn by exposure. Even though we are Illinois, we bring all of the richness of the Spanish language and culture to our students. This truly makes our program one of a kind.

    We also see the program’s effectiveness displayed in a student’s ability to engage more easily in the language, to problem solve and make connections. Skills are taught in separate languages, which gives students opportunities to learn skills in one language that are then bridged into the second language.  Our program allows for teachers to collaborate and problem solve with students in both languages. Our students are able to see themselves as one in terms of language. There is no distinction of the English speaker and the Spanish speaker because to them, they are all emerging bilinguals.

    Learning the academic Spanish is not enough and therefore exposing our students to the Spanish culture is a must. Popular celebrations, delicious food, beautiful music, historical events, and famous people are shared by reading books, singing songs, bringing foods, and telling jokes.  We have utilized Google Expeditions to take virtual field trips to Spanish-speaking countries. Allowing students to experience these places firsthand increases interest and generates knowledge of Spanish culture. It also allows students who have visited, have lived, or may have family in another country, the opportunity to share their cultural experiences and add that value to our classroom discussions. This allows students to share their experiences, which promotes the Spanish culture.