Dual language program sets elementary students up for success in Abbotsford

ABBOTSFORD, Wis. (WSAW) -- Abbotsford Elementary School is giving students in K-5 the option to learn their lessons in two languages.

Amber Kraus, the EL Learning Services Coordinator, said this is the second year it's been offered. In the spring, parents received a letter that allowed them to opt in for their child to be part of program.

"Overall in the program, it's about 90 students," Kraus said.

The students learn reading, science and math in both English and Spanish.

"For a small town like us to be able to offer a program like this is a really huge opportunity for our students."

She added that it's a program that makes sense for their community.

"We do have a large population of students who speak Spanish at home."

There are many benefits of the program, like improving community connections, offering more employment opportunities in the future and addressing a nationwide problem.

"There's an achievement gap between different demographics. The dual language program is one of the ways, one of the only ways I know of, that actually closes that achievement gap," Kraus explained.

She added that upon graduation, students in a dual language program also test ahead of their peers in literacy.

The school recently got a grant for a book program that allows students to take home books written in Spanish every night, which Kraus said is popular among families. She said it's important for parents to read at home with their children.