Gates Elementary leads the way in world language instruction

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Gates Elementary in Chesterfield County Public Schools is a leader in world language instruction and will host a dual language immersion showcase for the school community

6-7:30 p.m. April 28.

  • Gates Elementary is the first elementary school in the nation to offer American Sign Language as a dual immersion program. This is year 3, with American Sign Language being taught to students in grades K-2.
  • Gates Elementary is the first elementary school in Virginia to offer Mandarin Chinese as a dual immersion program. This is year 2, with Chinese being taught to students in grades K-1. Gates Elementary is the only school in Chesterfield County where Chinese is offered.

Dual immersion classes are collaborative programs, where half of the instructional time is in the target language (American Sign Language or Chinese) and half is in English. Students learn math, science and literacy in American Sign Language or Chinese, which is reinforced and built upon during English instruction.

During kindergarten registration at Gates Elementary, parents can choose to place their child in the lottery for dual language immersion or can choose a regular class setting. At the end of the school year, parents are offered an opportunity to opt out; no parent has yet opted their student out of dual immersion.

Gates Elementary enrolls a total of 572 students. There are 37 students in Chinese immersion.

There are 63 students in American Sign Language immersion; two are deaf or hard of hearing.

World languages are taught throughout Chesterfield County Public Schools:

  • Manchester High houses a Spanish Immersion Specialty Center.
  • Middle schools and high schools offer world languages (Spanish, French, German, Latin and Japanese), but not every language is offered at every school.
  • Dual immersion American Sign Language is only taught at Gates Elementary. Midlothian High offers American Sign Language as a world language class.
  • Languages are offered in four elementary schools as once-a-week resource classes: Mandarin Chinese at Gates Elementary; Spanish at Bettie Weaver Elementary and at Elizabeth Scott Elementary; and French at Robious Elementary.

Languages are offered as dual immersion programs at three elementary schools: American Sign Language and Mandarin Chinese at Gates Elementary; French at Robious Elementary; and Spanish at Elizabeth Scott Elementary.