Harford County Elementary Schools To Benefit From Military-Backed Bilingual Education Push

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Students walk to class at Havre de Grace Elementary School. (Credit: Google/ Google Maps)

HARFORD COUNTY - Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) has secured a grant from the Department of Defense to enhance world language programs in "military-connected public schools."

The "Two-way Immersion in Elementary Schools (TIES)" initiative offers grade-level content and literacy in two languages to promote bilingualism, biliteracy, academic achievement, and cross-cultural competence.

HCPS will use the 2023-2024 academic year for planning, looking to introduce a Kindergarten Spanish Immersion classroom at Emmorton Elementary School starting in 2024-2025. The goal is to progressively incorporate subsequent grade levels each year, targeting the inclusion of 3rd grade by the 2028-2029 school year.

With a growing English Learner (EL) populace in HCPS, the school district has identified early world language exposure as key for the future. To ensure the program's effectiveness, HCPS plans to collect data, assess the pilot program, and finetune it accordingly before scaling it district-wide.

"This grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity is a tremendous opportunity for the students of our district to become global citizens," Superintendent Sean Bulson said. "With world languages being taught in all middle schools this school year for the first time ever in HCPS, the opportunity to provide this tremendously effective approach for world language learning to elementary school students is exciting!"

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