Heritage Language Programs - Spanish

High School of Science and Technology/Springfield, MA

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Address: 1250 State Street, Springfield, MA 01109

Contact: Mrs. Meyleen Sierra
Foreign Language Spanish Teacher

Email: sierram@sps.springfield.ma.us

Telephone: (413) 750-2000 ext. 5210

Fax: (413) 750-2000

Web address: www.sps.springfield.ma.us

Languages: Spanish

Grades: 9-12

Program Description

Purposes and goals of the program: The goals of our program are to enhance native speakers’ knowledge of the Hispanic language and culture. Furthermore, we try to help them become proficient in all aspects of the language to prepare them for taking the Spanish AP exams. We also strive to instill a sense of pride and dignity in the heritage learners about that language.

Type of program

In our heritage language classes we encourage full use of the language at all times. These classes are based in the foreign language department. They are not apart of a bilingual program.

Program Origins:The program was founded the opening of the school 6 years ago, by the Springfield School District.

Parents' expectations for the program: Parents' expectations are generally the same as with other classes. They expect the classes to be challenging but fair.

Staff's expectations for the program: We would like to have all of our heritage learners take the Spanish AP exam during their senior year.


Countries of origin: Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, and Puerto Rico

Total student enrollment: 50 - 80 per semester

Identification of heritage speakers:

Percentage of students who complete the program: Not sure.

Possible reasons for not completing the program: Motivation, most often a student doesn't really know the available options.


Number of staff in program: 2

Languages in which staff members are proficient: Spanish and English

Level of proficiency: We are completely fluent in all aspects.


Professional development opportunities teachers have: We have professional development workshops that are announced on a daily basis. Our district also has its own professional development center where we can work to advance our degrees.

Professional development opportunities teachers need: More workshops based specifically on issues that deal with heritage speakers


Hours per week students receive instruction: 7.5 hours per week. We have 85-minute blocks that meet every day.

Student grouping: Students are grouped according to levels (Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4)

Heritage Skills

Skills and levels of language proficiency students reach by the end of the program: Enough to enter into AP Spanish


Kind of student identity the program fosters: Students gain a better understanding of the Latino identity and become better acquainted with their own heritage.

Methodologies and instructional strategies


Textbook: Nuevas Vistas - Ven Conmigo ( Holt Rinehart & Winston, 2003)

Technology used in the program: We use computers for Web research, compositions, and video and audio tools.



Local connections:The school has connections with colleges and universities. There isn’t development of home-school connections or promotion of parent involvement in the program.

Opportunities that students have for using the language and developing cultural knowledge outside the program: There are several opportunities in our communities.

What the program has in place

Financial support

Kinds of assistance or collaboration you would like to receive for your program from other entities: Financial assistance for students wishing to study abroad

Research on or evaluation of the program: We want to evaluate how taking a foreign language can help raise students’ SAT scores.

Special Challenges and Comments

Special Challenges: City funding cuts from our city have made it impossible for us to offer elementary heritage classes in the next school year.

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