Dual language magnet school unveiled
Students from Brookhaven Elementary who have been a part of the dual language program stand in front of their new school sign.


Dual language magnet school unveiled


“Buenos tardes [Good afternoon],” proclaimed superintendent Dr. Joseph Giani as he began the ribbon-cutting ceremony to the Brookhaven Elementary Dual Language Magnet School. “That’s all I have.”

While Giani hasn’t benefited from the program at Brookhaven, he is confident that it will be an important educational program for South Country students. The dual language program began four years ago at Brookhaven and will now have students from across the district come to the school to learn in English and Spanish. The goal is to enable students to become bilingual and proficient in both languages.

“All of our students will now benefit from the enrichment and support of the dual language program, and we’re really excited about that,” Giani said.

The program puts half Spanish-speaking and half English-speaking students together with a bilingual teacher, who conducts lessons in both languages. Proponents of the program say this helps later on in life with reading comprehension and the understanding of language, improved performance in critical thinking, and additional employment opportunities. Instruction is in both Spanish and English and incorporates the required academic standards established by the State of New York.

There are two types: a single teacher model with a bilingual teacher and mixed students, and a second model, which has two teachers and two groups of students. Giani said in an interview last month that he would like to see the program continue to grow throughout the district. 

“It’s really humbling ... and really just seeing how much our children have learned and how we have started to bridge our community together even further,” said Rebecca Raymond, principal of Brookhaven Elementary. 

Parents and students came out in support of the initiative earlier week, and were sharing how the dual language program was beneficial to students. 

“When I started school, I didn’t know any English,” said Anastasia, a student of Brookhaven Elementary, who is a member of the dual language program. “The dual language program helped me a lot and now I can talk to my friends.”