The graduation ceremony featured a welcome from B220 Early Learning Center Principal Barbara Romano and Grove Ave School Principal Katie Matthews. Special guest this year was graduating Barrington High School Senior Emma Bradford, who was part of the first class of students to start in the Spanish Dual Language Program in elementary school and continue to graduation. She expressed gratitude at the opportunities that came from her language immersion.
Barrington 220 offers two language tracks outside of traditional English Language Learner (ELL) Programs:
The Bridge to Chinese Program is a Kindergarten through 12th-grade language and culture program designed to develop pre-advanced speakers of Chinese by graduation from Barrington High School. The Chinese Immersion Program, like the Spanish Dual Language Program, starts in Kindergarten and continues through elementary school. The track through Middle and High School changes with Chinese as part of their subject areas, but a reduction in the amount of time on language arts. Students not enrolled in the Chinese Immersion Program can still learn Chinese as a choice as a secondary language.
The Spanish Dual Language Program classes include students who are 50% native English speakers and 50% native Spanish speakers. Classes in kindergarten, first and second grade are taught by bilingual teachers and aides. Each student develops literacy in Spanish. By mid-second grade, English literacy instruction begins. Instructional materials are in both languages and correspond to the curriculum for Barrington 220 for each grade level. As students progress through the program, they will master academic content skills in both languages as teachers vary the language in which the content units are taught.
Graduating students of the 2017 Spanish Dual Language Kindergarten formed a traditional procession in miniature red caps and gowns similar to those worn by Barrington High School graduates. The students and families were entertained by Leslie Mendez, Amy Tinajero & Yomira Sarmiento, members of the Mexican Folkloric Dance group from Barrington High School. The graduates then came together to perform special songs with expressive movements for the audience of family and friends.
Their Spanish Dual Language Teachers, Luz Munoz-Garcia, and Maricela Mendez announced each graduate who made their way to the front to receive their diploma and to pose for a special photo with their teacher.
The celebration continued in the Grove Ave Elementary School Cafeteria where everyone was invited to a potluck supper of Spanish foods prepared and donated by families of students in the program.