DLS Middle School Model
The DLS secondary program is modeled to continue our goal of bilingualism and biliteracy by 8th grade. DLS contracted with Dr. Tara Fortune from CARLA to advise and assist in developing the secondary immersion program model at DLS. In middle school years, DLS is a 50/50 immersion model (50% of instruction is in the target language).
Key guiding principles of the secondary program include:
- Target language policy/contract (It is important to reemphasize target language use in the classroom and with parents).
- Transfer students must have target language grade level requirements to enter DLS at the secondary level.
- Inquiry/project based model fits well with immersion model.
- Materials/textbooks in target language for all subjects taught in target language.
- Staff- middle school team approach with specialty content teachers for each subject area.
- Purposeful focus on vocabulary and social language.
- DLS is intentional on increasing language proficiency; therefore, students are taught 3 or more content areas in target language. (Middle School immersion students will drop in SOPA/ELLOPA scores if content areas in target language are 2 periods or less a day.)
- A third language as a special is a strategy to promote renewed interest in a 2nd language, improves grammar and vocabulary in 2nd and 1st language, and keeps students interested in studying languages. Further, it builds community between the two language programs.
- DLS combines Spanish and Mandarin classes when possible (English instructional time) to build community between both programs.
In the DLS middle school program, students are required to study a target language (Mandarin Chinese or Spanish), plus English, social studies, science, mathematics, arts (visual arts and music), technology, and physical education. One of our goals is to arm students with the communication, linguistic, and analytical skills that can be adapted to interdisciplinary units with other core subjects: mathematics, social studies, and science. We at DLS believe in academic rigor in our target languages (Mandarin Chinese and Spanish) to prepare students for success in an increasingly global community. Technology is also integrated in both the target language and English learning content.
Target Language (TL) Mandarin Chinese or Spanish:
- Language arts (Mandarin Chinese or Spanish) – 100%
- Mathematics – 100%
- Social studies – 50% TL
- Science – 50% TL
- English language arts – 100%
- Social studies – 50%
- Science – 50%
- Specials (physical education, music, art and technology)
- Daily 3rd language block (reversed immersion in the target language: Mandarin for Spanish program students; Spanish for Mandarin program students.)
- ELL course*
- English support*
*Only for students identified as needing English support or as ELL students.
In Grade 6, both the target language and English are the means to higher mental functioning. Language skills are the key elements in education. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are indispensable components in the subject of language arts, which is vital for all students in the 21st century. These components are integrated into student learning, and are used to build understanding and skills across all academic subjects.
The components of oral expression and listening, reading for all purposes, writing and composition, research and reasoning, cultures, and experiential learning projects are trans-disciplinary; they apply to all academic subjects and classes. They are inherently part of the target-language-acquisition goals.
For middle school, Advanced Math starts in 5th grade with Pre-Algebra. Then, 6th grade begins Algebra 1, 7th grade is Geometry and 8th grade is Algebra 2. All these courses will focus on their grade level skills and state standards. Since we are starting with 5th Grade Math, by the time the students get to 8th grade, they will be at the Math high school level. Khan Academy is used as a tutorial or homework support because the teacher can use it to reinforce the class skills and as baseline assessments.
The DLS science program seeks to create students who are literate, scientific inquirers who can critically and creatively solve and predict problems and effect sound decisions and actions that affect them, others, and our environment/world. In the 6th grade, students will develop an understanding of scientific concepts, facts and laws via experimental processes and projects, investigations, and analyses in classes as well as at our DLS science air. Key elements of the program include physical science, earth science, and life science.
- Physical Science: Students know and understand common properties, forms, and changes in matter and energy.
- Life Science: Students know and understand the characteristics and structure of living things, the processes of life, and how living things interact with each other and their environment.
- Earth Systems Science: Students know and understand the processes and interactions of Earth's systems and the structure and dynamics of Earth and other objects in space.
The goal of social studies is to encourage our students to respect and understand the world around them, which help them develop a global awareness that related to the challenges, conflicts and issues in our society.
- History: History develops moral understanding, defines identity and creates an appreciation of how things change while building skills in judgment and decision-making. History enhances the ability to read varied sources and develop the skills to analyze, interpret and communicate.
- Geography (TL): Geography provides students with an understanding of spatial perspectives and technologies for spatial analysis, awareness of interdependence of world regions and resources and how places are connected at local, national and global scales.
- Economics (TL): Economics teaches how society manages its scarce resources, how people make decisions, how people interact in the domestic and international markets, and how forces and trends affect the economy as a whole. Personal financial literacy applies the economic way of thinking to help individuals understand how to manage their own scarce resources using a logical decision-making process of prioritization based on analysis of the costs and benefits of every choice.
- Civics: Civics teaches the complexity of the origins, structure, and functions of governments; the rights, roles and responsibilities of ethical citizenship; the importance of law; and the skills necessary to participate in all levels of government.
The Arts (Art & Music)
A key part of exploring, communicating, and shaping a sense of identity and perception of the world we live in involves learning through the arts. Objectives for this subject focus on: 1) knowledge and understanding, 2) application, 3) reflection and evaluation, and 4) personal engagement. By incorporating a variety of activities in whole and small group settings in class, DLS students develop self-confidence, resilience, and the ability to adapt in our ever-changing world.
Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
The DLS sixth grade physical education course is comprehensive and well balanced, involving a series of diverse and integral skills and concepts. Based on our current situation and resources, the DLS physical education class does its best to offer a maximum number of experiences for learning and educate students in the benefits of a healthy and physically fit lifestyle.