Legislation passed by the 2015 General Assembly allowed the State Board of Education Wednesday to approve a dual language immersion pilot program that will award grants to Indiana schools wishing to create or expand a dual language immersion program.
Currently, there are four such program available in Indiana.
This pilot program provides a maximum of $500,000 each for fiscal years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 to help interested schools create capacity for such programs.
The maximum amount of money a school can receive each year is $100,000.
The languages taught under the program are specified, just need to be approved by the Department of Education, but they must start in kindergarten or first grade and classroom instruction should be divided evenly between English and the foreign language.
State superintendent Glenda Ritz says she hopes interested schools will apply to get a program off and running, since this type of language instruction is more difficult to administer than other courses.
“It’s not the same as having a teacher teach a course on another language,” Ritz says. “It is actually immersion within one language and having your instruction in that language 50 percent of the time so it takes quite a bit of planning, dedication, and conversation with consultants to make sure you get that right.”
Caterina Blitzer, the Global Learning and World Languages Specialist for the IDOE, says the grant money will likely be used on a salary for a qualified teacher and professional development for staff involved in the program.
Deadline for the program is July 24, and the grant application can be found here.