The initial planning for the District 39 Elementary Spanish program came in 2003 as a need for foreign language to be part of the elementary school day was recognized by parents, teachers and administrators. Careful steps have been taken to ensure a strong implementation and articulation of the program while meeting the diverse needs of the Wilmette student community.
The program evolved initially from a parent survey indicating that there was an overwhelming desire to make foreign language part of the elementary school day. A task force was formed by the Community Review Committee (CRC) to research and benchmark schools in surrounding communities and around the country. The task force then recommended to the Wilmette Board of Education that elementary foreign language be further explored and program development continue in 2004 – 2005.
To aid in program development, a program coordinator was named and an elementary foreign language committee was formed from the task force and classroom teachers. Goals and philosophy for the program were written, program design was decided upon and feedback was gathered as to language choice and instructional time.
As decisions were made, the program began to take shape and a content-based curriculum was written collaboratively with classroom teachers and elementary Spanish teachers.
The program is fully implemented in Kindergarten through fourth grade as part of the regular school day for every child in the elementary school. As students move through the grade levels in the Wilmette Public School District, they will have the opportunity to experience a challenging, fully articulated Spanish program that will encourage them to use their language in meaningful ways.