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witf's Real Life | Real Issues is a multimedia series devoted to providing several angles on a single issue of interest to Central PA each month. The goal is to provide in-depth coverage of the topic on all witf media, including witf 89.5 & 93.3, witf TV, Central PA Magazine and Real Life | Real Issues also engages listeners, viewers and readers on witf's Facebook and Twitter accounts to discuss the issues with members of the community.

Spanish Immersion

Written by Tim Lambert, witf Multimedia News Director | Nov 5, 2010 2:35 PM

Imagine your child's first day of kindergarten—the excitement and the anxiety. So many questions: Who will I know in my class? What will I eat for lunch? Where is the bathroom? How will I know what to do? What if I get scared? What if no one is my friend? Now imagine that your English-speaking child is starting China. Now the questions are more confusing and challenging. Will anyone look like me? How can I understand what to do next? How will I understand my teacher? The other children? What if I get scared? Children who recently immigrated to the United States are facing these questions in American schools every day. This can feel overwhelming, regardless of status, to any child trying to navigate a new language, new friends, and new cultural expectations and rules...

Additionally, in our increasingly diverse and ever-shrinking world, we wonder if a second language might be beneficial to English-speaking children as well. Is waiting until middle or high school to introduce another language the best way to help English-speaking children become bi-lingual?


In the School District of the City of York, Spanish Immersion classes are bright pockets where collaboration between teachers, families, administration, and children is working to equip both English and non-English speaking students to be successful and learn from each other.


VIEW: Slideshow of visit to the classroom:



LISTEN: Deborah Hioutis, the Assistant to the Director of Special Programs
discusses what responsibilities school districts have in regards
to determining a student's immigration status:




LISTEN: Hioutis challenges a common stereotype of illegal immigrants





LISTEN: Hioutis clarifies the similarities in what all students want:




WATCH VIDEO: Sandra Quinones-Hemphill, the School District of the City of York's
Director of Special Programs, discusses the Spanish Immersion Program
as we visit teacher Lillian Abreu's classroom:


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