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celebrating our 2017-18 partner programs

As we’ve talked with diverse groups of school leaders across the country about dual language immersion education, we’ve discovered that learning communities explore and launch immersion programs for a variety of reasons:

Of course, these reasons aren’t mutually exclusive, and school communities typically cite several of these reasons as important in their decision making process.

As we look ahead to the 2017-18 academic year, we’re thrilled partner with with 20 schools and districts across the U.S., and to serve nearly 3,000 students and 200 educators. And as the leaders of our partner schools will attest, partnership with add.a.lingua is no small undertaking.

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We ask a lot of our partners in terms of their time commitment to immersion specific professional learning, application of research based instructional practices, and regular formative assessment of students in the target language. And we’re of the opinion that the hard work that our partners do each year to maintain and build the quality of their programs is worth celebrating, don’t you?

It would be awesome to pull an Oprah and send them each a brand new car…but for now, we’ll use the power of the internet to sing their praises.

For all the families out there considering an immersion program for your student(s), please get in touch with one of our partners in your area and learn more. And if there’s not an add.a.lingua partner school in your area, be sure to check out our helpful checklist:

add.a.lingua’s 2017-18 partners

Calvary Christian Academy

Calvary Christian Academy is one of our three brand new partners in 17-18.  We love the passion they have for their school community and the possibilities that an immersion program opens up for their area. They’re offering preschool, kindergarten, and two first grade sections this fall.

Grandville Christian School

Calvin Christian Middle School

Grandville Calvin Christian (grade school and middle school) is our second oldest partner. They provide an early-total one-way Spanish immersion program, and their dedicated team of leaders and teachers will be offering preschool – 8th grade this fall. Middle school students will spend 50% of their time in the immersion language–which is so very important for continued growth. Go Squires!

Corpus Christi Catholic School

Corpus Christi Catholic School is a 90-10 two-way immersion program. They’re a long-time partner and administrator Jo-Jones has been powerful advocate for immersion education in the Catholic school community. They have been able to share their experience in cross-cultural bridge building via immersion education far and wide. They’ll be offering preschool – 4th grade Spanish immersion classes this fall.

Covenant Christian School

The first Spanish immersion program in the South Bend area, Covenant Christian has been an immersion forerunner in Indiana–having run a successful program long before the state of Indiana began offering grants for immersion program start-ups. They’ll offer preschool through 6th grade early-total one-way Spanish immersion this fall.

Crown Point Christian School

The pride of St. John! (or so we like to call them : ) Crown Point Christian will offer preschool – 3rd grade early-total one-way Spanish immersion this fall. Their program has grown like gangbusters over the last several years, and we’re excited to welcome their new principal, Mr. Wiersma, to the party!

Evergreen Christian School

So far north and west, you can practically hit Vancouver with a roca from the campus–Evergreen Christian School offers an early-total one-way Spanish immersion program.  We love the pride that principal (and immersion grandpa) Glen Hendricks has for his school and their growing program.  His commitment to professional learning from a distance was present long before we made it easier with add.a.lessonly. Evergreen Christian School will offer preschool through second grade this fall.

Fremont Christian School

We attempted to bottle up the humility of principal John Barkel and the enthusiasm of program point person Julie Karnemaat, but apparently the FDA has to get involved when you’re dealing with such high potency educational medicine. Suffice it to say, it’s a joy to work with this growing, early-total one-way program. They’ll be offering kindergarten – 4th grade Spanish immersion next year.

Grand Haven Christian School

Principal James Onderlinde and the team at Grand Haven Christian will be offering an early-total one-way Spanish immersion class (k-1 combination) this fall. They’re a forerunner in the tri-cities area, and we appreciate how they’ve taken their time to do things the right way by educating their community and casting a vision for the power of immersion education, as well as being intentional about learning from other established add.a.lingua partner schools. Grand Haven Christian School is off to a great start!

Holland Language Academy at Van Raalte

Under the leadership of principal Iliana Vásquez-Ochoa, Holland Public Schools moved its immersion strand program to Holland Language Academy at Van Raalte last year as the district’s new language magnet school. Enrollment in their 90-10 two-way Spanish immersion program continues to grow, and with a veteran teaching staff, they’re poised to really build upon their past successes this year. Holland Language Academy will offer kindergarten – 7th grade Spanish immersion this fall.

Holy Cross School

Home of the Crusaders, Holy Cross School is one of the oldest Catholic elementary schools in in Indiana. But they’re our newest 90-10 two-way Spanish immersion partner. Located in South Bend, Indiana, Holy Cross School benefits from a strong community of program champions including staff from Notre Dame University and Holy Cross College. Holy Cross will launch a preschool section this fall, and is well positioned to serve their linguistically diverse community.

Kalamazoo Christian Schools

One of our longtime partners, Kalamazoo Christian School will offer an early total one-way Spanish immersion program for preschool – 7th grade this fall. Marc Verkaik and Emily VanDis lead a committed team of teachers that consistently show up and do the work to grow in their craft. They’re a dedicated bunch and are working hard prepare their program for the evaluation and endorsement. We’re cheering them on!

Legacy Christian School

On Grand Rapids’ south side, Legacy Christian School is growing a quality early-total one-way Spanish immersion program. With veteran teachers, they’re really poised to be a leading program in their area and principal Vince Bonnema has been instrumental in marshaling the resources of his community on behalf of the school and program. Legacy Christian School will offer kindergarten and first grade Spanish immersion this fall.

Muskegon Christian School

Muskegon Christian is a fully articulated, preschool-6th grade, early total one-way Spanish immersion program. They’re a longtime add.a.lingua partner school and have been faithfully serving their community since the 1880’s! Muskegon is a diverse community, and MCS is proud that their student body and their families reflect that diversity. Get in touch with principal Dan DeKam if you’re interested in learning more about Spanish immersion at Muskegon Christian.

NorthPointe Christian School

NorthPointe Christian School offers their community an early-total one-way Spanish immersion program serving preschool-6th grade. Their secondary students benefit from 50% time in the immersion language, and they’re already laying the groundwork for an innovative experience with the essential time and intensity in the immersion language for high school immersion students. Go Mustangs!

Oakland Christian School

The leadership team at Oakland Christian School brims with pride in their teaching team and in the strength of their young program. Offering an early-total one-way Spanish immersion program for preschool – second grade this fall, the OCS community has really responded positively to the addition of their immersion program. It’s clear that administrators Gordon Nickel and Vonda Morga really enjoy their work, and are excited about what immersion education means for their community.

Pella Christian Grade School

Under the dedicated leadership of David TeGrotenhuis and Rebecca Gomez, Pella Christian Grade School has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 6 years. Immersion education has been a game changer for them, helping to grow enrollment and energize their community. Now offering preschool through 6th grade early-total one-way Spanish immersion, this is a school committed to excellence and the very best outcomes for the students they serve. Keep it up PCGS!

Redlands Christian School

Holding down the immersion fort in California is Redlands Christian School. They’re offering preschool through third grade early total one-way Spanish immersion this fall. With growing enrollment and a lot of energy for their program in their community, it’s been a real pleasure to see the dedicated leadership team of Bill Johnson and Julie In’t Hout roll with the changes that inevitably come with starting a brand new program. They’ve been dedicated participants in our professional development over the years, putting on a lot of miles with their teams. A big round of aplauso for the team at Redlands Christian School!

St. Peter’s Episcopal

Offering Chattanooga’s first Spanish immersion program, St. Peter’s Episcopal School now offers preschool through 1st grade early-total one-way Spanish immersion. This leadership team is all heart, and it’s been our pleasure to work with them over the last several years as their program has matured. Program leaders Meredith Ruffner and Monica Griffin have led by example in their participation, and we expect more good things for them in the year ahead.

Zeeland Christian School

Our founding partner, Zeeland Christian School offered west Michigan’s lakeshore communities their first immersion program. ZCS has grown significantly over the years with about half of all students now enrolled in one of the schools’s two early-total one-way immersion programs. Spanish immersion is offered preschool – 8th grade, and Mandarin Chinese is now offered preschool – 6th grade. Despite having just celebrated their centennial, ZCS shows no signs of slowing down. This year they’ll welcome a new school administrator, Tim McAboy, and begin to tackle Mandarin Chinese immersion for middle schoolers. Let the adventure…continue!

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taking add.a.lingua professional development to the next level with Lessonly

There are few things that we like better than hanging out with dual language immersion teachers and administrators and talking about the art of multilingual teaching. We have a steadfast belief in the capacity for growth in students and adults alike, and getting to know our partners face to face has been one of the best parts of expanding into new regions across the U.S.

Conferences style events have their place, but an in-person educator summit was no longer serving our partners well. In short, we needed a change.

But as the add.a.lingua network of partner schools has grown over the years, it’s been increasingly challenging for our geographically disparate partner schools, and the add.a.lingua team, to find common dates and times in the summer months to gather for extended professional learning. Conferences style events have their place, but an in-person educator summit was no longer serving our partners well. In short, we needed a change.

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As we set about incorporating the feedback of our partner school administrators and teachers, our goal was to take the dynamic professional development we’ve historically offered during our summer educator summit and deliver it online.

We needed a way to provide differentiated learning to our partners schools across the nation that could be completed asynchronously, and could also provide teachers and administrators a simple interface to track their own progress toward add.a.lingua certification.

After interviewing and analyzing numerous learning management systems, we struck up a partnership with the good people at Lessonly, and last week we launched our new online professional learning platform. (Hooray!)

Filming professional development modules.

We were geeked to hang out with several groups of fantastic dual language immersion educators throughout the filming process.

It was no small undertaking. We spent days recording video modules with Emmy nominated film-maker and composer Eric Schrotenboer, and several groups of dual language immersion teachers and program leaders from across the area. Then began the work of editing and shaping the content to be facilitated by program point people.

Through it all, we’ve been so grateful for the feedback and support of our partner schools–we knew the adoption of a learning management system would be a big step forward for ALL of us. It was our steadfast belief in human dignity and capacity for growth that propelled us forward, and so far the feedback has been tremendous:

“Seems user friendly! Thanks for never getting stuck in a rut ~ your innovativeness (yes, I just made that a word) is inspiring for us to strive for our A game too!” – Julie

“It was really helpful. Thank you so much!” – Pedro

“Change is good! Thanks for pushing the SI instructors!” – Laura

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The team from Calvary Christian Academy is exploring success indicators in add.a.lingua’s quality quadrants.

It’s extremely gratifying to see teachers and program leaders, like our partners at Calvary Christian Academy pictured above, already tackling their professional learning courses and lessons online and growing in their practice to better serve their students and communities.
Three cheers for dedicated educators that have given their all to students this year and who continue to grow in their craft. Hip, hip, hooray!


Want to learn more about how add.a.lingua provides differentiated professional development for dual language immersion educators?

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dual language immersion education: take the leap

It’s hard to believe the 2016/2017 school year is almost done.  New things create anxiety in me and I feel like we have just settled into this year.

I get asked what we think our kids will do with the Spanish they have learned.  I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.  In the grocery store the other day a family speaking Spanish passed us a few times and the dad had a little girl sound asleep on his shoulder. I asked Gina to use her Spanish to tell them they had a beautiful daughter.  No amount of bribery prompted her to say anything to them.  I can’t change that.

I can’t make my kids use their Spanish.  I can trust that what they have learned will come out when it is needed.  I can trust that the years of learning will bridge a gap between “them” and “us”.  I can hope my kids will be world changers due to the choices we made in their education.

As we move out of the 2nd, 4th and 6th grades I continue to be amazed at how proficient they are.  Middle school brought with it more English than in previous years but also new subject areas that were taught in Spanish.  4th grade days have more Spanish than English but in 2nd grade the only language spoken is Spanish.  Recently I spent a few hours with the 2nd grade class and only a short amount of time in the 4th grade class.  My mind was so tired!!!  It reminded me to have grace for them when they come home from school and are tired and need down time! 

Hannah’s 2nd grade class went on a fieldtrip to an old school house.  Her teacher held school in the old, one room school house.  They compared what school was like then to now.  The kids had a play they read and were assigned parts.  It was so fun to hear them!  

IMG_2516.JPGA few days later I spent time in the 6th grade room.  It’s fun to see kids more comfortable with their Spanish.  While the kids were getting ready for class there was more joking around and activity taking place.  Once they settled in the kids also read a play.  How fun to compare the fluency and speed by which the kids progressed from 2nd to 6th grade.

BUT, if asked “would I do it all over again?”  THAT I can answer. Yes.  100x over, yes.

We are proud of our kids and the work they have put into learning a second language.  

Do I know what high school will look like to keep their Spanish proficiency growing?  No.

Do I know what their ACT/SAT scores are going to be?  No. But I don’t know what they would be if they weren’t learning a second language either.

Do I know if learning a second language will propel them toward being a doctor or a lawyer or work in the mission field? No. But I do know this: I have given my children the gift of a second language.  Someday they will use it.

This gift isn’t always easy or pretty.  It doesn’t come without questions and maybe even some tears.

BUT, if asked “would I do it all over again?”  THAT I can answer. Yes.  100x over, yes.

If you are considering it, take the leap.  Put aside your own questions or anxiety and embrace something new.  You won’t regret it!

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courage instead of fear: Mandarin immersion continues to change us inside and out

By Cara Wickstra

As I reflect on our time so far in immersion, I can see it truly was a game changer to take the step of faith and enroll in Mandarin immersion. I’ll be honest, it took some courage for me to say yes to Mandarin because it was way outside of my comfort zone and knowledge base. It was not very likely that I would be able to “pick up” Mandarin as I potentially could with Spanish in order to understand a little of what my kids and their teachers were saying.

I’m beginning to notice is that there’s an inside change that happens with these kids too. They begin to see the world differently.

And yet, as parents, we want the best for our children. We hope and pray that their lives in some ways will be better than ours – they’ll be smarter than us, make better choices at key moments in their lives, have more courage than we did, etc. As an immersion parent, I’ve already sent them in a new direction and equipped them with tools more advanced than I had.  But that’s not the end of it. We often look at immersion and see the outside, which is still amazing.  But what I’m beginning to notice is that there’s an inside change that happens with these kids too.

They begin to see the world differently. When a stranger passes by speaking another language
or from another country, they strain to see if that person speaks a language they know. Instead of the barriers of culture, immersion opens wide a desire to communicate with people from different places and countries.  Instead of foreign = fear, to these kids foreign = friend. My first grader is already making plans to add another language to his tool belt once he finishes Mandarin. My preschooler is attempting to speak Mandarin by stringing together a few words she knows. Even my three year old was telling me last night that he spoke Mandarin because he told kids on the playground “Nee How” (which is hello in Mandarin).  He even invented a Mandarin song by singing “Nee How” over and over again. We are opening the world to these kids in a way that could never be done by simply shopping at an Asian market or eating out at authentic cuisine … and it’s amazing.

But that’s not the end of it. These kids are opening their minds to the world through language, while the parents are opening their homes through adoption. I know of seven Mandarin immersion families accounting for eight children from China that have been or are in the process of adoption. I’m not sure if this is a typical situation, but what it tells me is that this passion for learning language and culture speas to our core. And to think, if I listened to my fears or my desire to stay in my comfort zone I would’ve totally missed this blessing for my kids, my family and myself.

Have I ever been to China? No. Am I a little bit scared about going to a place so foreign to me with a language I simply cannot decode? Definitely. But I’m still planning to go. At some point, once all the kids are in school, we will make the trip to China as a family. I have a feeling I will be so glad I went, once again choosing courage instead of listening to my fears.

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leadership institute 2017: serving dual language immersion program leaders

Each spring, add.a.lingua gathers dual language immersion program leaders from around the nation for our leadership institute. During these two days of intensive professional development, administrators have opportunities to gain deep insights about dual language immersion pedagogy, set goals and vision for the program, and network with colleagues facing similar challenges.

With our 7th leadership institute now in the books, we wanted to share some vignettes from our partners. With so many great stories to share, we’re only able to share a few representative samples. But we think you’ll enjoy hearing stories of program and community victories, and a little about what it has meant for these program leaders to partner with add.a.lingua.

dual language immersion program highlights from add.a.lingua partners

Iliana Vásquez-Ochoa and Lynnette Brander from Holland Language Academy shared positive developments from Holland Public School’s Spanish immersion magnet program.

Gordon Nickel and Vonda Morga of Oakland Christian School shared positive developments in areas of student retention, assessment results, staffing and title funding.

Maria Gomez from Corpus Christi Catholic School shared that their Spanish immersion program is helping to grow and the diversity of their school community and that professional learning offered by add.a.lingua via webinars has been very powerful this year.

All the way from southern California, Julie In’t Hout and Bill Johnson from Redlands Christian School shared program highlights from their early total one-way Spanish immersion program.

The leaders from one of our three brand new partner schools, Calvary Christian Academy, shared some of the things they’re excited about as they look ahead to open pre-k through first grade Spanish immersion classes in the fall of 2017.

school leaders reflect on partnership with add.a.lingua

When asked to reflect on leadership in the context of dual language immersion and partnership with add.a.lingua, Glen Hendricks, principal of Evergreen Christian School blew us away with his thoughts on developing trust.

David Te Grotenhuis, principal of Pella Christian Grade School, shared about how partnering with add.a.lingua has enabled his school to serve as a regional knowledge center for dual language immersion programs in Iowa.

We’re so grateful for these dedicated leaders and their willingness to engage over two days in meaningful dialogue with add.a.lingua and each other about how to strengthen their dual language immersion programs.

If you’re interested in see more of add.a.lingua’s professional learning in action, check out highlights from leadership institute 2016.

Want to talk about professional development for your immersion team? Check out our options, and let us know how we can help.

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add.a.ligua welcomes our newest partner, Holy Cross School of South Bend, Indiana

The entire add.a.lingua team is excited to announce Holy Cross School of South Bend, Indiana as our newest Spanish immersion partner program.

Holy Cross is enrolling now for their two-way Spanish immersion preschool opening fall 2017. Interested families should contact Dulce Curry for more information:

Dulce Curry – 574-855-6535

“We’ve enjoyed our time getting to know the leadership team at Holy Cross and their many allies from Holy Cross College and the University of Notre Dame. They’ve been doing a great job raising awareness of the program. Their approach to community building through a two-way dual language immersion model is really encouraging,” said Lilah Ambrosi, add.a.lingua co-founder. “We’re looking forward partnering with the Holy Cross School and to helping them add another quality educational option for their community.”

“This is a great step for the Holy Cross School community and we truly couldn’t be happier for everyone involved. Multilingual learning is such a blessing for students, and will open up incredible vocational and relational doors for them. We’re grateful to the leadership of Holy Cross School for the opportunity to partner with them,” added Stacey Vanden Bosch, add.a.lingua co-founder, “and we know that their commitment to quality dual language immersion education will be a real benefit the families of South Bend.”

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To learn more about add.a.lingua’s partnership process and how we help build and support quality dual language immersion education programs around the U.S., check out our partnership process explanation here. And if you’re interested in exploring dual language immersion education in your area, send us a note. Let’s keep talking…in multiple languages!

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Want to help your child develop tenacity? Consider immersion education.

by Meghan VanLente

As a parent, I want my kids to be both happy and successful – most parents would probably agree with me that they want that for their kids too. But I have found that the practice of having happy and successful children is much more difficult than the lofty ideal.

My kids aren’t always happy no matter what I do – my 5 and 9 year old seem to be more often arguing than happily playing, and they often can’t experience success at the moment they want it. My 5 year old wants to climb the tree that my 9 year old can – but the 5 year old just can’t. I don’t want to explain that to the emergency room doctor. And my 9 year old doesn’t have the skills yet for his own pocket knife – again another example of trying to avoid an ER visit

So, I’ve wondered – if I can’t secure their happiness and success at this stage, will I ever be able to? And the answer that I have come to (from talking to some wise people in my life, reading some good books, and experiencing life as middle school teacher), is NO – that I probably can’t ever “create” happiness and success for my kids all th time – no matter how many times I say “yes,” how much money I spend on trips and toys, or how well I orchestrate their playdates.

That realization has brought me some relief. I am not solely responsible for my children’s happiness or success (nor should I hold that responsibility for my husband, my kids’ teachers, friends, or our pastor). But we (as parents, teachers, and friends of our children) are not off the hook. Because I do think that I we have a responsibility to teach those life-skills that can lead to our children becoming those kind of individuals who live contente
and productive lives.

As I have looked at character traits that build the kind of end result I want to see in my kids, a few have stood out that specifically speak to my choice to put my kids in a Spanish immersion program. One that sticks out to me is TENACITY.

At a very young age, each of my kids got thrown into a room with a bunch of other 4 year olds and a teacher who started speaking to them in a language they didn’t understand. And she kept doing all sorts of singing, dancing, acting, pointing, modeling, and repeating in that language while the kids kept up a guessing game – trying to figure out what in the world she was trying to say. But amazingly, after months of hard work on the part of both child and teacher, my preschooler is coming home explaining words in Spanish to ME – ones he figured out at school.

“Mas means more, Mom,” he confided to me the other day. “How do you know?” I asked. “Because,” he replied, “when we say that, our teacher does our favorite color song again – the one where she’s a little crazy and the song makes us laugh.”kids-only

I love that the experience isn’t arduous – not overly difficult – but it takes tenacity – the ability to keep going in the face of difficulty – to do it. That character trait shows up all throughout the language immersion experience and develops the character to push forward in the face of challenge, rather than backing down.

I’m thankful for immersion teachers who don’t give up when the kids don’t get it right away, and for the opportunity for my kids to develop the character trait of tenacity – persevering, trying to think, to speak, to grow, to learn – in a second language.

Of course tenacity can be learned in many venues – but immersion education is a specific way that I can help my children, not to be happy or necessarily successful today, but to develop the character to recognize that challenges aren’t excuses for unhappiness and that difficulty is a stepping stone for success, not a reason for failing.

Read more from Meghan VanLente, and sign up to be a member of our informed parent community.

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Las Fallas and cultivating connections at home and abroad

by Cortney Housman

In our technologically advanced culture, SKYPE has made a way to cultivate connection and community across the world.

Our excited second grade immersion students enjoyed a SKYPE session with their new friends from Spain, Miss Teresa’s sisters. (The classroom was blessed with their presence here in Saint John, Indiana when tey visited early January.) While receiving a SKYPE tour of the neighborhoods and experiencing a taste of the home designs, the students were amazed at the beauty of the buildings and the artistic expressions.


Ninot–Las Fallas (photo credit,

Teresa’s sisters were joy-filled as they were preparing to travel to the city of Valencia for “Las Fallas.” The pyrotechnic enthusiasts in the classroom were excited hearing about the loud, smoky, high-spirited fiesta where the whole town is set ablaze to celebrate the onset of spring and the planting season. There are a myriad of other activities that transpire during Las Fallas de Valencia including bullfights, parades, beauty pageants, and paella contests.

This picture is incredibly symbolic to our souls being illuminated and propelled to actively engage in a harvest season. John 4:35 encourages us to “raise our eyes and look at the fields and see that they are white for harvest.”

Recently, my son Olyver was fighting a battle against the spreadable Influenza A virus, resulting in his absence at school. Upon his return, a trifecta of girls reacted to a prompting to pray for Olyver that he would experience full healing and regain his strength.

class3-2.jpgThat same day, while driving my children home, Olyver made a point to explain how he was deeply cared for and experienced a sense of peace after receiving those prayers. As a mom, it is a sacred blessing to witness these second graders actively partaking in gospel initiatives.

With an awareness that the poor will never cease to be in the land, the Spanish immersion students recently collected jars of salsa and canned tomatoes to freely give to our brothers and sisters in the community who are in need. It was encouraging to witness these students and their zealous passion to donate as many jars as possible, even sending some of us moms out to the grocery store to meet high quotas.

One lovely madre, Taytum, recently texted me to invite our family to a local Spanish-speaking church, El Pacto de Gracia in Chicago Heights, to immerse Olyver and her son Ethan in the community and encourage them to interact with local hispanic people while hearing the scriptures spoken in Spanish. She also has inspiring plans to make homemade paella with our families and enjoy a Spanish meal in community together. We look forward to embarking on this journey next month and experiencing cultural diversity.

Gwendolyn Brooks once stated “we are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

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how to hire, develop, and keep a quality immersion teaching team

One of the questions that always surfaces when we talk with school leaders and communities Lilah Ambrosi, add.a.linguaabout dual language immersion education is…where do we find immersion teachers?

It’s a fair question, especially given the additional qualifications and expectations these teachers will need to meet, and the bilingual teacher shortage in general.

That’s why we’re excited to bring to you a conversation with add.a.lingua co-founder, Lilah Ambrosi, as she tackles one of the most pressing challenges facing dual language immersion program leaders: how to hire, develop, and keep a quality immersion teaching team.

Sharing insights from her background as a dual language immersion school principal, Lilah offers suggestions on hiring, investing in staff, and developing a culture of shared success.

Listen in and let us know what you think. And if you’re a leader of a dual language immersion program, we’d welcome your suggestions about things that have worked in your own teacher recruitment and development efforts.


No time to listen? No worries. Distilled for you here are 5 insights on hiring, developing and sustaining a quality immersion teaching team:


1. Network like crazy. Get the word out about your program, and be willing to look beyond the typical channels where find teachers. Developing connections with community organizations, colleges and universities can make a big difference.

2. Look for missional alignment. You want teachers that are all in on the mission of your organization. If your program espouses the belief that immersion education is for all students, and that all students can succeed–then look for teachers who share that belief and don’t quit.

3. Screen to save time.  You’ll get a lot of applicants that simply aren’t prepared for success in an immersion setting, so take the time to develop a screening process will save you a lot of time in the long run. As just two examples, we encourage our partner schools to look for an advanced high to superior ACTFL OPI rating, and to note any extended periods of living abroad.

developing your team:

4. Have high expectations and invest in high quality professional learning. Find immersion specific professional development opportunities with add.a.lingua, CARLA, or CAL. Encourage networking with other immersion teachers.

sustaining your team:

5. Compensate creatively and make celebration a priority. Your immersion teachers have additional responsibilities, and so you might consider offering a stipend for their participation in professional learning above and beyond what is asked of their English track peers. When a teacher experiences some success or has a breakthrough, find a way to celebrate it and nest that celebration within the overall mission of your school in a way that lifts everyone up. Individual successes can become team victories.


If you’d like to learn more about how add.a.lingua can you help take your teaching staff to the next level through dual language immersion specific professional learning opportunities, get in touch using the form below.

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¡Bienvenidos Calvary Christian Academy!

Team add.a.lingua is pleased to welcome Calvary Christian Academy of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida as our newest Spanish immersion partner program.

Enrolling now for their inaugural Spanish immersion preschool, kindergarten, and first grade classes in fall of 2017, interested families should contact the school to learn more:

p. 954-905-5100

“It’s been a pleasure to work with the leadership team at Calvary Christian Academy, and to witness how intentional they’ve been in exploring dual language immersion education for their community,” said Lilah Ambrosi, add.a.lingua co-founder. “They visited several of our partner programs and were gracious hosts to our team in the planning phase, and now it’s really exciting to start this partnership journey with them.”

“We couldn’t be happier for the Calvary Christian Academy community as they take their first steps this fall in dual language immersion education. Research consistently shows how students benefit from quality dual language immersion education, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with CCA to positively impact students and their families in Ft. Lauderdale,” added Stacey Vanden Bosch, add.a.lingua co-founder. “Multilingualism is such a gift, and we’re thrilled to have a dedicated new partner school at Calvary Christian Academy.”

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To learn more about add.a.lingua’s partnership process and how we help build and support quality dual language immersion education programs around the U.S., check out our partnership process explanation here. And if you’re interested in exploring dual language immersion education in your area, send us a note. Let’s keep talking…in multiple languages!