Dual Language Academy to Open in Fall

Preschool and Kindergarten Students will Learn in Spanish
Posted on 06/01/2019

A New Dual Language Academy will open in the Heelan CYO in fall where preschool and kindergarten students will learn through 80-90% Spanish instruction. Two new bilingual teachers will join Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools for the new program.

Parent information meetings will be held Wednesday May 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Bishop Heelan High School Media Center and Sunday, May 19 at 11:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.  in the lower level of Cathedral of the Epiphany Church.

Research shows that students who know two languages enjoy stronger academic success, a more stimulating school experience and growing future opportunities, according to Dr. John Flanery, Heelan president. All children from the tri-state area are welcome to enroll.

“We are excited to introduce a new program in our system that will truly prepare our young students for the future,” Flanery says. “We will be teaching 4 to 6-year-olds to read, write and speak in two languages when their young brains are more receptive to language learning.”

Patty Lansink, school superintendent of the Diocese of Sioux City, says more than half the world speaks more than one language.

 “It is exciting to see Sacred Heart begin this partnership with Boston College,” Lansink says. “Research shows there are numerous benefits of bilingualism, including cognitive, social, and occupational advantages. I’m thankful to the Catholic School Foundation for the financial support to get this program initiated in one of our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Sioux City.”

The Heelan school system plans to expand the academy by adding classrooms for grades 1-5 in the Epiphany Center. The curriculum will focus on four pillars of achievement: biliteracy in Spanish and English, strong Catholic values, academic excellence and cultural awareness. 

The new BHCS academy is offered in partnership with Boston College and its Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools. The program is grounded in research with leadership of Boston College faculty and other education experts to support Catholic school classrooms around the country. 

Research shows that bilingual students:
- can better multitask
- have a longer attention span
- adapt better to changes in an environment
- develop a positive global awareness
- enjoy more opportunities in college and careers

Daily prayer and other faith activities will be part of the curriculum as well as Hispanic faith traditions. In the preschool, to be taught by Mayra Padilla, students will learn 90% Spanish. Kindergarten will be taught by Antonia Maria Carreno where students will speak 80% Spanish.

Learn more with Juanita Garcia at 712-301-7500 or Kate Connealy at 233-1624 or kate.connealy@bishopheelan.org