At St. Anthony Catholic School, students are experiencing classroom learning in a whole new way through the school’s Two-Way Language Immersion (TWI) program. In essence, St. Anthony is two schools in one, offering two different learning tracks for students — traditional classroom learning and TWI.
The TWI track began in 2010 and is available to students in Kindergarten through fifth grade. Students in the TWI track experience core subjects like reading, science, math and social studies in both English and Spanish. The goal is to provide students with an opportunity to become bilingual and biliterate by the time they reach middle school.
The TWI program at St. Anthony is taught by six faculty members from a variety of Spanish speaking countries including Honduras, Spain, and Puerto Rico. The diversity of the faculty helps expose students to multiple dialects, cultures and traditions as part of the program.
Through this comprehensive language immersion program, St. Anthony Catholic School is not only helping give its students a leg up academically, but is bridging the divide between the Catholic Church and its fastest growing US population — Catholic Latino families.
What is Two-Way Language Immersion
Two-Way Language Immersion (TWI) provides students the opportunity to develop language fluency in two languages. Providing students with core class instruction in two
languages helps students excel academically, while developing cross-cultural skills and understanding.
What Two-Way Language Immersion is NOT
TWI is not just for English Language Learner (ELL) students. All students can benefit from a multilingual approach to instruction, even those who struggle academically or those who have never been exposed to a language other than their native language.
Why is Two-Way Language Immersion Important?
TWI programs are known to provide students with educational, cognitive, sociocultural and economic benefits. Among these benefits are enhanced memory, visual-spatial reasoning, creativity and enhanced cultural understanding.
Moreover, research demonstrates that, “Bilingual students outperform monolingual students on tasks that require divergent thinking, pattern recognition, problem solving and multi-tasking,” (Boston College, 2019).
This unique learning track at St. Anthony Catholic School is a partnership with Boston College’s Roche Center for Catholic Education and the TWIN-CS (Two-Way Immersion
Network for Catholic Schools). TWIN-CS is a national initiative to share research, ideas, techniques, and resources to enable some of the most socially and economically challenged students to become bilingual and biliterate.
St. Anthony Catholic School is the only school in the Diocese of Des Moines to participate in this collaborative with Boston College. Through this partnership, St. Anthony is able to access the resources necessary to implement a leading-edge multilingual educational model for nearly a third of its students.
How Can I Learn More
To discover if the TWI program is right for your child, contact Jennifer Raes, Principal, at JRaes@stanthonydsm.org or 515-243-1874 to schedule a tour.
Boston College. (2019). Benefits of Two-Way Immersion. Retrieved December 9, 2019