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D75 dual language teachers serve as a model for visiting educators

December 20, 2023 09:42 AM
A visiting educator takes notes as Lilian Quint teaches her class at CSMS

During the past few months, educators from school districts in Lake County and beyond have visited Mundelein schools to learn about best practices for teaching bilingual education. District 75 has become a model dual language district.

In October, D75 hosted teachers and administrators from McHenry and North Chicago and showed them how it teaches bilingualism and biliteracy to students from kindergarten to eighth grade.

Several weeks later, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, more than a dozen educators from various parts of the state came to watch and learn from District 75 teachers as they taught in their classrooms.

The state-wide visit was set up by the Illinois State Board of Education. The ISBE offers a professional learning cohort called “Literacy Squared” in which bilingual educators learn best practices in instruction for language and literacy development in English and Spanish. In Mundelein, they observed D75 teachers delivering high-impact instruction for language and literacy development.

The fact that visiting teachers were in their classroom did not go unnoticed by staff or students, D75 Dual Language Director Ryan Zak said.

“It increased their engagement and their pride as dual language learners,” he said. “Our students and our staff are so proud of who they are and of the program they’re in. They feel like rock stars right now.”

Research developed by professional educators over the years has innovated powerful instructional practices for dual languages. Over the past few years District 75 teachers have developed both confidence and competence with the program, Zak said.

“It certainly shows up in the classroom. We see higher levels of student engagement, accelerated development in dual language and literacy, and reading. Our mission is to develop students to be bilingual and biliterate contributing members of our community.”

The fact that D75 has positioned itself as a model dual language district has benefits of its own, including staff retention, recruiting, community perception, staff and community pride and staff development.

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