Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools (FLES)
Randolph Elementary students met with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in May 2016. The students studied the life of Justice Sotomayor in Spanish class during Hispanic Heritage Month. Students wrote her letters, under the guidance of their Spanish teacher Ms. Jaquelina Ferrara, and Justice Sotomayor responded by inviting them to a private meeting with her where they were able to ask questions about her life and experiences.
- To develop high levels of proficiency in Spanish at the beginning stage of language acquisition.
- To provide a meaningful context for developing communication skills in Spanish.
- To build an understanding and appreciation for the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.
- To strengthen the language competency of Spanish speaking students (native or heritage speakers).
The purpose of the FLES Spanish Program is:
- To prepare students to begin developing functional skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish.
- To provide a nurturing environment where students feel comfortable learning a second language.
- To develop proficiency in oral and written communication in Spanish through the integration of language skills and concepts taught in the content areas.
- To encourage all students to develop an openness, understanding and appreciation for other cultures.
|School Year Implemented||FLES Sites|
|2015-16||Abingdon||Arlington Science Focus||Arlington Traditional||Discovery||Long Branch||Taylor|
* Note: Funding through the FLES initiative was provided for the Immersion Program to expand the teaching of Spanish Language Arts, following a recommendation from the 2004-05 Immersion Program Evaluation.
Students receive at least 90 minutes of instruction weekly.
The FLES program requires that FLES teachers hold a Virginia’s teacher’s license in Spanish as Foreign Language (Spanish K-12). It is highly recommended that FLES teachers be dually certified in foreign language and in elementary education.
Expectations for Language
Time is a critical component for developing language proficiency as indicated by the ACTFL chart below:
The expectations for students learning Spanish as a second language who complete the K-5 sequence are to attain the Novice-Mid level as described in the Proficiency Guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. At a Novice-Mid level, the student can engage in simple conversations, can speak and write short sentences, and can read and understand brief text, among other skills.
Language expectations, themes and vocabulary have been developed as part of the Scope and Sequence for FLES. These versions vary by year in school and the school’s year in implementation. These documents help to give an overview of what FLES students will be able to know and do by the end of the year.
Scope and Sequence Documents for schools in at least year 6 of implementation (Ashlawn, Barcroft, Barrett, Campbell, Carlin Springs, Drew, Glebe, Jamestown, McKinley, Patrick Henry and Randolph):
- Kindergarten FLES
- First Grade FLES
- Second Grade FLES
- Third Grade FLES
- Fourth Grade FLES
- Fifth Grade FLES
For schools in years 2-3 of implementation (Abingdon, Arlington Science Focus, Arlington Traditional, Discovery, Hoffman-Boston, Long Branch, Nottingham, Oakridge, Taylor and Tuckahoe), they will utilize the Scope and Sequence Documents that most closely relate to the year of implementation.
Curriculum and Instructional Materials
The FLES program follows the Arlington FLES curriculum framework, which is aligned with national and state standards. All students in the FLES program have access to high-quality instructional materials to help them develop the desired proficiency. Arlington utilizes a variety of resources, including Descubre el español, the Viva el español series of materials and resources from the National Geographic Language and Literacy en español series. These resources are standards-based and allow for cross-curricular connections.
The FLES curriculum in Arlington provides opportunities for making connections between Spanish and other subjects, namely math and science. For example, students in Second Grade practice math skills by counting by 2’s and by 10’s or by making a bar graph of the students’ favorite colors. This allows the students to learn specific vocabulary (colors, in this case) in an authentic context (talking about what they like) while at the same time practicing an important math skill (making and reading bar graphs).
In conjunction with the Science Office, curriculum was developed for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade that integrates specific science goals for each year group, aligned with Virginia Standards of Learning, with related content in Spanish.
FLES teachers conduct periodic formative evaluations to determine students’ progress in Spanish. The results of these assessments are used to modify instruction. Students’ language development is assessed more formally twice a year in Kindergarten, at the end of each semester, and quarterly for Grades 1-5 which is reflected in the report card.
Sixth Grade Spanish Options
There are various semester-long options available to students in Sixth Grade:
- Introduction to Spanish for students who are newer to Spanish.
- Transitional Spanish for students who have successfully at least two years of FLES.
- Spanish for Fluent Speakers 6th Grade for students who have native or near-native oral fluency.
These courses are paired with a semester of reading in English. If students are not reading on grade level, they will be recommended to take a year-long reading class. For specific course descriptions and other language options, please refer to the Program of Studies.