Heritage Language Programs - Spanish
Omaha Public Schools/Omaha, NE
Institution: Omaha Public Schools
Program address: 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131
Telephone: (402) 557-2440
Fax: (402) 557-2499
Contact Person: Steve Brock, Ph.D., Supervisor of International Languages
Type of institution: Public middle and high school
Grades taught: 6-12
Languages/dialects taught: Spanish
Purposes and goals of the program: To increase the literacy and communication skills of Spanish-speaking students.
Instructors’ and administration’s expectations for the program: Students will be able to communicate in formal registers in both speaking and writing.
Countries of origin: Mexico and other Central American countries
Total student enrollment: 650
Age of students: 11-18
How the program identifies heritage speakers: In the past students were asked if they had grown up in a Spanish-speaking home. A placement assessment is currently being created.
Percentage of students who complete the program: 75%
Possible reasons for student withdrawal: Other classes conflict with the schedule or students lose interest.
Students’ attitudes toward the language varieties they speak: The program is designed to teach them greater tolerance for other varieties of Spanish.
Number of instructors in the program: 7
Languages in which instructors are proficient: Spanish. Six of the seven teachers are native speakers of Spanish.
Credentials: Teachers have Spanish certification in Nebraska.
Professional development opportunities for instructors:
• Central States Conference for Foreign Language Teaching
• Other conferences
• Literacy training provided by ESL program
Total contact hours per week: 5
Times per week: 5
• Middle School Heritage Speakers
• Heritage Intro (High School)
• Heritage Speakers
• Heritage Speakers II
Skills developed by the program: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish and cultural knowledge.
Levels of language proficiency reached by the end of the program: Students attain intermediate-low to advanced-low (on the ACTFL scale) in speaking and writing.
Aspects of culture taught:
• Traditions and beliefs
• Songs and dances
• Social and cultural norms
• Cultural appropriateness
Kind of student identity fostered by program: The program attempts to foster pride within the students. Several of the courses are honors courses that recognize students’ language expertise.
Methodologies and instructional strategies used in the program: Standards-based language approach
Textbooks: Nuevas Vistas. 2005, Holt.
Other materials used for instruction:
• Teacher-created materials
• Internet resources
Technology used for instruction: All teachers and students have computer access.
Assessments used to evaluate students’ progress:
• Chapter tests
• Midterm exams
• Final exams
• Standardized assessments
• Self-assessment (Lingfolio)
• Teachers’ observations
• ACTFL OPI
• Local schools
• Colleges and Universities
• Partnership with El Museo Latino
Opportunities for using the heritage language and developing cultural knowledge outside the program: Partnership with El Museo Latino