In an innovative initiative, the West Islip School District’s world language program connects high schoolers to their younger counterparts in the district’s Bayview, Manetuck, Oquenock and Paul J. Bellew elementary schools.
Senior students from West Islip High School visit elementary classrooms once a week for 30 minutes to share Spanish, Italian or American Sign Language with the younger students. The seniors teach basic language concepts such as clothing, numbers, days of the week and items in a house, choosing a different category each week, mixed with seasonal activities and learning games.
“I had the same experience in elementary school and cherished it so much,” said senior Douglas Dillman, a member of West Islip’s International Baccalaureate program. “When I started learning foreign languages, I wanted to share so the younger students could take some of it and apply it.”
“The seniors do a great job,” said Manetuck fourth-grade teacher Mark Levine. “It gets my students excited about learning. It’s something new, and something the kids look forward to every week.”
Photo courtesy of the West Islip School District
West Islip High School senior Douglas Dillman teaches Spanish to students at Manetuck Elementary School as part of a world languages initiative.