DELAVAN — The Delavan-Darien School District is offering free beginning Spanish classes for adults in the Delavan-Darien community.
The courses will be Monday and Wednesday evenings, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 9, and running through December. Classes are held from 5:30-8 p.m. in the Phoenix Middle School library, 414 Beloit St., Delavan.
The bilingual Katie Lindskog, a former teacher and school counselor, will lead the classes. The course is for any Delavan-Darien School District community member who has limited or no Spanish-speaking skills.
The classes will teach grammar, conversational skills, and some writing skills. No credit will be offered.
To sign up, call Lindskog at 262-902-0692, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited to the first 25 students.
As the Latino population grows not only in the Delavan-Darien area but also throughout the entire country, teaching Spanish for adults becomes evermore important, said Ron Sandoval, Delavan-Darien’s director of language acquisition and community education.
“We hope parents and community members at large, whether they speak only English or Spanish, see the benefits of such general language acquisition programs and use them so they can learn more about their neighbors,” said Sandoval, who noted the district’s partnership with Gateway Technical College to teach English to Spanish-speaking community members. “Hopefully, people in the course will go on to more advanced language courses, such as those offered for credit at area colleges and universities.”
The benefits of being bilingual are many, Sandoval said, particularly for those seeking careers or looking to advance in their career. Companies often put higher value on applicants who speak multiple languages because of the benefits it can give to the company.
Seeing that need, the district, which is made up of nearly 50 percent Latino students, this year started the county’s first Dual Language Education Program for students. The choice program is currently available for students in pre-school (4-year-old kindergarten) through first grade, and will be introduced to second graders in the 2015-16 school year.
The Dual Language Education Program teaches core content to both native English and native Spanish speakers in both languages so students become bilingual, biliterate and bicultural, Sandoval said. The program will continue to grow incrementally and add grades in the coming years.
Students in the program are expected to become fluent in English and Spanish, with the ability to speak, write and have conversations in both languages. They will also have a thorough understanding of both English and Spanish cultures, Sandoval said.