Heritage Language Programs - Spanish

Spanish, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

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Contact Information:
Jennifer Pearsall (Second Language Specialist) Jennifer.pearsall@cms.K12.nc.us
Kelly Price (Title I Director) k.price@cms.k12.nc.us
Nhora Gomez-Saxon (Spanish for Native speakers consultant) South Mecklenburg High School nhora.gomez-saxon@cms.k12.nc.us
Fran Hoch (Section Chief) (919) 807-3864 fhoch@dpi.state.nc.us
Helga Fasciano (Second Language Consultant) (919) 807-3865 hfascian@dpi.nc.us

Grades taught
• 9-12

Languages/dialects taught: Spanish

Program name / Institution: Spanish for Native Speakers (SNS) / Public Schools of North Carolina / Department of Public Instruction State Board of Education

North Johnston High School
Lexington Senior High School
South Mecklenburg High School
Fike High School
Independence High School
East Henderson High School
Clyde Erwin High School

Program address
North Carolina Department of Public Education
6353 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6353

Department of Public Instruction / Second Language Studies Section
Fran Hoch (Section Chief) (919) 807-3864 fhoch@dpi.state.nc.us
Elga Fasciano (Second Language Consultant) (919) 807-3865 hfascian@dpi.nc.us
Nhora Gomez-Saxon (Consultant) gomezsaxon@yahoo.com, nhora_Gomez-saxon@cms.k12.nc.us

Program description

Spanish for Native Speakers is designed specifically for native/heritage speakers of Spanish who already have some oral language proficiency. The purpose of this course is to enable students whose heritage language is Spanish to develop, maintain, and enhance proficiency in Spanish by providing them the opportunity to listen, speak, read, and write in a variety of contexts and for a variety of audiences including the family, school, and the community. SNS will allow students to explore the cultures of the Hispanic world including their own, and it will enable students to gain a better understanding of the nature of their own language as well as other languages to be acquired.

Language maintenance: By establishing or re-establishing some connections to the language and culture of the home, schools can develop in students a sense of worth and validation.

Transfer of literacy skills: Students need to develop not only their oral skills, but also their literacy skills in Spanish. Students who are literate in their first language learn English more quickly and easily; enhance their English literacy development, thus helping with academic achievement in English and other disciplines. Promote bilingualism and biliteracy

Cultural awareness: students compare their languages to increase understanding of their own culture with those of other students to make connections to all Hispanic cultures.

Respect students’ language varieties: Teachers accept and validate the diversity of the students’ language varieties and do not denigrate the languages spoken by the students or impose their own Spanish as the "correct" one.

Reduction of dropout rates: Participants in the program will promote students’ academic success in other parts of the program.

Graduation requirements: Levels I and II of Spanish for native speakers (SNS) meets the North Carolina (NC) high school graduation requirements for students and allow students to follow the college/university prep course of study, as well as meet the minimum course requirements for admission to the University of North Carolina (UNC) system.

Type of program:
• Immersion
• Foreign language program
• Content-based

Program mission statement
The mission of the program is to preserve the home language and culture in the classroom based on the following principles:
• Respect students as members of diverse family and community systems bringing multiple gifts of language, culture and wisdom.
• Validate and use students’ language capabilities, both in the native language and the second language.
• Encourage and accept students’ attempts to communicate since errors are a normal part of language learning. Provide multiple opportunities for communication.
• Plan authentic, integrated activities that allow students to value and appreciate their identities.
• Organize the physical environment to reflect the diversity of cultures in the classroom.
• Build networks among linguistically and culturally diverse families and educators.
• Initiate dialogues about students’ languages and cultures.
• Design the curriculum around students’ interests.
• Introduce a diversity of cultural information based on the students’ heritage

The Spanish for Native Speakers curriculum establishes competency goals and objectives directing the teaching and learning of Spanish as a heritage language in North Carolina. SNS offer Hispanic students who are already able to converse and understand Spanish an opportunity to maintain, develop, and refine their language. Very often students have acquired an informal language necessary for communicating with families and friends, but the have not developed the "standard" or "prestige variety" Spanish necessary for academic success. In addition, their language has a limited range of vocabulary, contexts, and registers; therefore, students need to expand and refine their spoken fluency beyond the confine of their families and friends. They need to learn what language to use to convey respect or friendliness, what language to use when speaking with adults they do not know, and what language to use for academic and technical purposes. Furthermore, many students enrolled in SNS classes lack literacy skills in Spanish. They need to acquire and refine literacy skills in Spanish to become successful. To accomplish this, students must gain some experience reading effortlessly from sources ranging from newspapers and books, to authentic texts found on the Internet. In addiction, they need the opportunity to write often for a variety of purposes and audiences. The native language serves as the foundation for English language acquisition. When students develop their oral and literacy skills in Spanish, they enhance their literacy development in English. The incorporation of processes such as the reading and writing process are equally effective in Spanish and can help students as they approach a reading or writing assignment in Spanish or in English.

Date when the program was founded
• Initiated in 2000 by the schools.
• NCDPI (North Carolina Development Program Institute) Curriculum Development Institute (Summer 2002):
• Curriculum Pilot (2002-03 in six LEAs
• Training Institutes (on-going)
• Publication and dissemination (2002-2004)
• Integration in 2005 NCSCOS

How the program was founded
Public Schools of North Carolina responding to
• Having three cities with the highest growth of Hispanics in U.S between 1998-2000.
• 5.9% of school-age children are Hispanics
• In 2002 only 1.1% enrolled in NC colleges and universities were Hispanic.

Parents’ and staff expectations for the program
• Spanish for native speakers courses were created because he traditional language courses were neither developmentally appropriate nor academically challenging for the Hispanic population.
• The Spanish for native speakers courses are not designed to replace English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. Students who have been identify as limited-English proficient (LEP) will still need to receive assistance in learning English and in mastering content of other disciplines delivered in English.
• A positive understanding of the students' own culture, awareness of their cultural heritage and improving of the speaking, reading, writing and listening skills.

Staff’s expectations for the program
Students develop a sense of pride in their heritage by studying their language and culture and receive the opportunity to become bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural.


The students in the program
First generation immigrants 91%
Second-generation immigrants 5%
Third generation immigrants 1%
Children of interethnic marriages 3%
Country of origin: from several countries: Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru. NC schools serve students who are able to communicate orally in Spanish but who have limited knowledge of English.

Total student enrollment 450

How the program identifies who is a heritage speaker
The program identifies heritage speakers according to Guadalupe Valdés’ (2000) definition: Heritage language learners are raised in a home where a language other than English is spoken, understand and/or speak the heritage language and are to some degree bilingual in English and in the heritage language.[Valdés,G. (2000). Introduction. In Spanish for native speakers. Volume 1 (pp. 1-20) New York: Harcourt College.

Placement Test recommended:
Prueba de ubicación para hispanohablantes (Prueba articulada and Prueba Global) by Ricardo Otheguy and Ofelia García.
Leamos Spanish Developmental Reading Program By Paul S. Amidon and Associates
• Riverside Performance Assessment Series, Riverside Publishing Co., Chicago, IL
• IDEA Language Proficiency Tests – Spanish, Ballard & Tighe Publishers, Brea, CA.

Tools used by the program to determine the language background and language proficiency of students
Oral interview Students register to the class and have an oral interview with the teacher during the first 10 days of school

Other Program recommendations for assessment:
• Assess the students’ level of language to determine who is a heritage speaker and whether the student will be better served in a traditional foreign language class or in Spanish for Native Speakers class.
• Use instruments recommended by North Carolina Public Schools (Assessment, Articulation and Accountability)
• Assessment should be based on the objectives outlined in the curriculum.

Possible reasons for students’ withdrawal from the program
They move out of State or country. Drop out

Students’ attitudes toward the language varieties they speak
Heritage speakers are sensitive at being corrected. A focus on error alienates the students and reinforces the notion that their Spanish is not good enough. Consequently, it is best to validate what the students already know and then help them expand their linguistic repertoire, learn to use more formal varieties.

Teachers / Administrators / Staff

Number of staff in the program: 14 teachers

One teacher in each school:
North Johnston High School / Diana Beddow
Lexington Senior High School / Rose D. Cline
South Mecklenburg High School / Nhora Gomez-Saxon
Fike High School / Tom Haitea
Independence High School / Liliana Mahecha
East Henderson High School / Pam Schlueter
Clyde Erwin High School / Lillian Tudela

Languages in which staff members are proficient
English and Spanish. Teachers are native speakers (required)

Extent in which staff members are proficient
Teachers are native Spanish speakers (100% proficient) or have advanced or superior proficiency. They must also have knowledge about first and second language acquisition, and have been trained to teach high school students.

Teacher’s credentials
• Teacher certification Spanish / Language Arts
• Teaching certificate North Carolina Teacher Certification.
• Other: Comfortable with diversity. Facilitator of student centered learning. Motivate counsel and advocate for students.

Professional development opportunities teachers have
• Training Institutes (on-going):
• Special Training for Spanish for Native speakers

Courses for heritage Spanish speakers were developed as a part of a federal Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant The grant called for the participation of 20 foreign language teachers throughout the state who would be willing to:
1. Receive training on appropriate methodology for teaching heritage speakers,
2. Develop a Spanish for native speakers curriculum for high school levels I and II
3. Pilot the curriculum during the following school year.

Teachers and supervisors convened in Raleigh in June 2002 for a one-week extensive institute and developed the Spanish for Native Speakers Curriculum, levels I and II. They piloted the draft document during the 2002-2003 school year and during that year additional amendments to the draft were made based on teachers’ recommendations.


How often students receive instruction
Block schedule. Every other day. 90 minutes per class.

Levels in which the students are grouped

Language Skills

Skills developed by the program:
• Listening
• Speaking
• Reading
• Writing

The research states that food learns have a wide repertoire of strategies to which they can resort. The SNS' teachers can introduce strategies to help students make sense of the text or to help them organize their ideas prior to a presentation. Those strategies can be transfer to the English class where students are expected to engage in similar activities. The incorporation of processes such as the reading and writing process are equally effective in Spanish and can help students as they approach a reading or writing assignments in Spanish or in English.

• National Foreign Language Standards
• NC Standard Course of Study for Second Languages
• English Language Arts.
• Social Studies (Latino Studies).
• Informational Skills.

Heritage Skills:
• Listening
• Speaking
• Reading
• Writing

• Interpersonal Communication
• Interpretive Communication
• Presentational Communication (expressive, informational, argumentative, critical)
• Cultures (describing socio-cultural and major political issues, assessing the economic impact of Latino American immigrants and citizens on the US and NC)
• Comparisons (identifying important historical events, showing a clear, logical connection among events, developing appropriate strategies to illustrate points)
• Connections (writing and reading processes, using effective strategies to match the task, developing and using graphic organizers)
• Communities (broaden linguistic and cultural knowledge and understanding that reaches beyond the school and local community via media sources such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television)

Skills and levels of language proficiency that students reach by the end of the program
Students reach the adequate level of competency to take SFL Level 4 or AP Spanish equivalent to advanced proficiency


Cultural aspects taught
• The program prepares students to identify key cultural perspectives, products, practices, and concepts and to select, synthesize, and interpret them in ways that result in sensitive and meaningful interactions.
• Incorporates learning experiences that reflect the richness of the Spanish cultures, particularly from their local communities.

Other culture-related topics or activities:
• History
• Festivals
• Customs
• Traditions/beliefs
• Religion
• Folktales
• Arts and crafts
• Dances
• Songs
• Rhymes
• Social and cultural norms
• Literature
Kind of student identity the program fosters
• Bilingual, bicultural, and successful.

Methodologies / Materials

Methodologies and instructional strategies used in the program
• Syllabus based on Curriculum for Native Speakers published by North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
• Content relevant and of high interest with curricular support (i.e. English and Social Studies)
• Student centered language study is not limited to the study of words and rules but includes gestures and other nonverbal communication as well as sociolinguistics elements.
• Communication strategies such as circumlocution, guessing, asking for and giving clarification are part of the teaching.
• Learning strategies like self-monitoring, mnemonic techniques, how to organize information, graphic organizers, and applying reading and writing processes are taught.
• Students are given opportunities to apply content from other subjects and disciplines such as immigration, stereotyping, and bias.
• Students learn simple thinking skills (memorization and recall) and more complex skills (summarizing, problem solving, organizing, inferring, analyzing, and synthesizing)

Materials used for instruction
• The program uses textbooks with a Language Arts focus like:
Glencoe McGraw Hill. El Espanol Para Nosotros Niveles 1-2
Holt, Reinhart and Winston. Nuevas Vistas Curso uno and curso dos
McDougal Little. Houghton Mifflin. Tu Mundo / Nuestro mundo.
Prentice Hall. Sendas Literarias. Levels I-II.
• Novels and anthologies:
Cajas de Cartón and Senderos Fronterizos. Francisco Jiménez. Cuentos, Mitos y leyendas para niños de América Latina. Coediciónlatinoamericana.
• Local Spanish newspapers
• We have a Study guide for "Paula", a novel by Isabel Allende. And also for Francisco Jimenez books.

Learn NC / K-12 Teaching and Learning / University of North Carolina: site with links to materials. http://www.learnnc.org/search?guided=0.0&phrase=Heritage+Spanish+Speakers

List of materials provided by the Spanish for Native Speaker Curriculum / North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Professional materials for teachers
AATSP Professional Development Series Handbook for Teachers, Volume 1.

Spanish for Native Speakers (2000). Philadelphia: Harcourt College Publishers.

Webb, J.B. & Miller, B.L.(2000). Teaching Heritage Language Learners: Voices from the Classroom. New York: ACTFL Foreign Language Education Series.

Center for Applied Linguistics

Teacher’s Guide to using songs in the classroom

Hispanic Business

Hispanic Online

Hispanic Outreach Initiative and Online Spanish-Language resources

Mexico Department of Education

NC Second Language Web Site

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

NC Society of Hispanic Professionals

Spanish Embassy in the US

Spanish Ministry of Education

U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans

Lesson Plans

Latin American Studies

Resources for teaching Spanish to Native Speakers

Spanish Textbooks and materials

Heritage Language Journal

The National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators

Spanish for Native Speakers Listserv

North Carolina Spanish for Native Speakers Listserv

Technology used in the program
Internet is used as a teaching tool. Technology is used to expose students to a variety of authentic materials reflecting different dialects, accents viewpoint and cultures. Students can access and use technology ranging from the Internet and CD-Rom technology to multi-media applications such as PowerPoint, HyperStudio, television, films, tapes and radio. Students can construct web pages, and participate in audio/video conferences with others in or out of state, and in other countries.

Recommended web sites to use with the curriculum

Cancionero- cancionesdora.

Latino Rock

Famous Hispanics in the World and History

Hispanic Heritage Month

News/Media in Spanish

BBC Online

El Universal

Radio and TV


Telemundo 47

Telenovelas: telenovelas Mexicanas

Online course offered:
AP Spanish Literature
This course is a survey of literature in Spanish from the Middle Ages to the present, with works from all parts of the Spanish-speaking world.
2005–2006 Section 1
Sandy Williamson


Kinds of assessments are used to evaluate students’ progress
• Weekly quizzes
• Chapter tests
• Mid-term tests
• Program exit test
• Final exams
Other: maintain interactive Journals, write personal responses to readings, debates on topics of interest, Interact with guest speakers, make mini-presentations to the class.


Program connections with other institutions
• Local schools
• Foreign schools
• Colleges: NCDPI Curriculum Development Institute
• Universities University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Other heritage language programs

Development of home-school connections and parent involvement
• The program organizes what it is called the speakers’ bureau inviting speakers to the program.
• Parents are invited as speakers in the class.

Opportunities for students using the language and developing cultural knowledge outside the program
• In school, at home, in our community.

System for graduating students and granting credit for study in the program
SNS gives the students of North Carolina the opportunity to meet the two-years foreign language admission requirement for all students graduating in 2004. Upon completion of levels I and II, students can proceed to the Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish where they will be joined by fourth-and/or-fifth-year students who are studying Spanish as a foreign language.

What the program has in place

Types of financial support the program receives
Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) grant (SEA / Curriculum Development)
Local: (Teacher Allotment / Textbooks)
Title II: (Teacher Training)
Title III (Additional Materials and supplies)

It is a great program, requires a native speaker teacher and helps the school system in general.


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