Next year, qualifying Canyons District high school students will be able to take college-level Spanish, French and Chinese courses co-taught by University of Utah faculty.
The unique “bridge courses” will be taught in high school but are being offered for college credit as part of Utah’s Dual Language Immersion Program, which is challenging traditional models of educational delivery and bridging the gap that has separated K12 schools from institutions of higher learning. Different from concurrent enrollment offerings, Bridge Courses are for upper division (3000 level) credit, and as such, give students a healthy head start on a minor or major in their language of study.
“Dual immersion is putting pressure on our system of higher education to provide something that is not the same as has been provided in the past, and it’s a healthy pressure,” says Jill Landes-Lee, who directs the Bridge Program Advanced Language Pathway for the U.’s Second Language Teaching and Research Institute.
Dual immersion students spend a good portion of their instructional days learning a world language. They start as early as kindergarten or the first grade, and by the time they reach the 10th grade, their language proficiency is comparable to that of upper division university language students in their junior or senior year. To ensure they don’t lose ground and are able to continue to grow in proficiency, the state’s institutions of higher learning have committed to offer them college-level courses while they are still in high school — which is no small feat, says Landes-Lee. “As a university, we had to ask, ‘How do we support a student as young as 15 years of age?’ We also had to contemplate how to take a semester-long university course and extend it over a full year. We’re not just throwing another course into the high school sequence. It’s not just another elective.”
Dual immersion is catching on nationally as an effective and efficient means of achieving fluency in a non-native language. But no other state has articulated a K16 model like that being pioneered in Utah, says CSD’s Secondary Dual Language Immersion Coordinator Cassandra Kapes. “We are so thankful for the Legislative funding that is making this possible, and to be working with the state’s flagship university.”
Bridge courses, created in partnership with all of Utah’s colleges and universities, are already being offered at Jordan High in Spanish. Next year, Chinese and French will be added at Corner Canyon and Alta, and by the 2019-2020 school year, all of CSD’s five traditional high schools are projected to be offering the courses.
The courses will be co-taught in the high school setting as part of students’ regular schedules by a high school faculty member and a faculty member from the U., says Kapes. In order to enroll, students must pass the Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Culture Exam with a 3 or above in the ninth or tenth grade. Students can earn 3 credits per year, and up to nine college credits total — for just $5 per credit — giving them a jump on college and competitive edge in the global job market.
Dual immersion is coming of age, and bridge courses are the culmination of a vision for a biliterate, bilingual and bicultural Utah that was articulated years ago by former Gov. Jon Huntsman, Sen. Senator Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, and Rep. Eric Hutchings.
Calling all bilingual 11th and 12th grade students: If you’re fluent in two or more languages, you can apply to have an official Seal of Biliteracy added to your high school transcripts.
The Seal of Biliteracy is placed on a high school graduate's transcript by the state of Utah to certify for employers and universities that the student has demonstrated proficiency in English and at least one world language. It is evidence of a student's readiness for a career, college and for engagement as a global citizen.
High school juniors and seniors are eligible to apply for the seal starting Tuesday, Jan. 2. The application window closes on Jan. 25, 2018.
To apply, students must complete the following form and turn it into their school’s Counseling Center. As part of the application process, students may be required to take a language proficiency exam sometime between March 19-30. Individual schools will determine the date, time and location of testing.
As an added convenience, the District also will hold a make-up test on Thursday, April 12 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Computer Lab at the Canyons Administration Building at 9361 S. 300 East, in Sandy.
Additional guidelines and information about the application process can be found at your high school's counseling center.
For Draper Elementary teacher Yinyao You, the only way to express his feelings about receiving an award that’s so prestigious only a handful of people in the world have ever received it, is with an exclamation point.
You was selected to receive the Individual Performance Excellence Award from the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah, a recognition given to only 30 individuals worldwide, including university presidents and educational leaders. He is one of five individuals from the United States to receive the award this year, and the only guest teacher in the U.S. to be recognized, according to the Confucius Institute.
“It is my great honor to get this award!” You said in an email sent from China to his colleagues, friends and administrators in Canyons District after he received the award from Madam Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China. “I know I can’t thank all of you enough!”
You received the award on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, in Xi’An, China, as part of the 12th annual Confucius Institute Conference. He will remain out of the country until school resumes in January. The other four recipients of the award from the U.S. include two directors of the Confucius Institute, the president of Alabama A&M University and the president of Miami Dade College in Florida. Remarking on You’s contributions to the state's immersion program, Utah Chinese Dual Language Immersion Director Stacy Lyon said the award is “well-deserved.”
Earlier this year, You was named the International Teacher of the Year by the Utah Foreign Association. As an involved educator who teaches 2nd grade Chinese immersion students by day and kung fu and tai chi after school, You has also been recognized as an Outstanding Educator by the Utah PTA and Star Teacher by the College Board.
He was chosen for his most recent award out of a pool of some 525 Confucius Institutes scattered through 146 countries in the world. The non-profit institution was established to promote Chinese language and culture in foreign countries, according to the Confucius Institute Headquarters website, English.hanban.org. The Individual Performance Excellence Award is one of the highest honors offered by the Institute.
“It’s a really big deal for the CI headquarters, and it’s a positive affirmation of what Yinyao has contributed to Draper elementary,” Shin Chi Fame Kao, Outreach Coordinator at the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah, said in an email informing Canyons of You’s award. “We are very proud of having him in our team and wish that he will continue to work for Utah in the future.”
The Draper Dragons received a special visit this week from a Chinese dignitary. Education Minister Counselor Cen Jianjun toured Draper Elementary’s Mandarin Chinese-English Dual Language Immersion classrooms while on a visit to Utah sponsored by Brigham Young University.
Fourth and fifth grade students had a chance to interact directly with Counselor Cen, and ask him questions about where he lives and the types of food he likes to eat. "Ask him if he knows about cotton candy," an enthusiastic student asked her teacher after struggling to describe the fluffy confection in Mandarin. Younger students sang songs and performed language and math drills to the visibly-impressed audience. Counselor Chen and his guests were joined by Canyons Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe, Board of Education Second Vice President Nancy Tingey and Board member Amber Shill.
Draper Elementary is one of eight schools in Utah selected by China's Education Ministry and the Confucius Institute at the University of Utah to house “Confucius Classrooms.” This isn’t the school’s first foray into diplomacy. Last year, at the Utah Capitol a group of Draper students held a live teleconference with students at a sister school in China. Utah lawmakers hope to expand the digital diplomacy sessions, which give young learners a chance to hone their language skills and observe and learn differences in social norms and cultural beliefs.
Utah’s Dual Language Immersion Program was created by lawmakers in cooperation with former Gov. Jon Huntsman who is fluent in Mandarin and also served as U.S. Ambassador to China. CSD’s first immersion classes opened in 2009, the same year that the District was founded. The District is now home to eight elementary immersion programs, eight middle school programs, and soon will have world language programs in its high schools.
From Monday, Oct. 3 to Wednesday, Nov. 23, parents and guardians can apply online to have their children learn Spanish, French or Mandarin Chinese.
In addition, parents and guardians who have questions about the programs are invited to a Parent Information Night on Wednesday, November 2. The 6 p.m. event will be in the Jordan High School Atrium. 95E Beetdigger Blvd.
Please note, that students with siblings currently enrolled in a Dual Language Immersion school must still submit applications by the Nov. 23 deadline. A lottery will be held to determine entrance into the programs if the number of applicants exceeds the 56 seats available per entering class.
On the application, parents will be asked to list their top three preferred languages and schools. All programs, except for the one at Midvale Elementary, are for students entering first grade in 2017-18. The Midvale Spanish-English program is for students entering kindergarten in 2017-2018.
Spanish also is offered at Alta View and Silver Mesa. French is taught at Butler Elementary and Oak Hollow. The schools offering Mandarin are Draper Elementary, Lone Peak, and Ridgecrest.
Questions? Call the Instructional Supports Department at 801-826-5045.