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Sarasota’s first bilingual school teaches students English and Spanish

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) — Students at Dreamers Academy have the chance to learn English and Spanish. It is now normal for students like Joseph Salguero-Mondragon.

“I like this place,” Joseph said.

At home he speaks Spanish, but at Dreamers Academy Joseph is learning to write and read in English and Spanish.

The charter school, which opened this fall, is the first bilingual school in Sarasota County.

About 23% of Floridians speak Spanish at home.

“Students are going to have an advantage by being bilingual, not only are they going to have better job opportunities, but they’re also going to have a more flexible brain that allows them to learn better,” said Geri Chaffee, founder of Dreamers Academy. .

“The model is 50/50, where one day we teach all content areas in English and another day we teach all other content in Spanish,” said Cathy Rodriguez, the school’s principal.

Classes began this school year, with nearly 200 students from kindergarten through second grade.

“We want our students and their families to feel comfortable in a place where we accept who they are. We always say a happy kid is a learning kid,” Rodriguez said.

Headteachers say they do all this so that students can speak both languages ​​perfectly fluently.

“Children have been proven to perform better and work at higher levels. By the time they finish fifth grade, they are six months ahead academically in all subjects,” Chaffee said.

Dreamers Academy is accepting applications for the upcoming school year. School officials hope to eventually expand its classes to fifth grade.

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