Success Spoken Here: Preparing Citizens of the World


>>Narrator: At 7:00 A.M. on
a Thursday, several hundred of Seattle’s movers and
shakers gather to eat breakfast and watch a unique talent show. Not your average bake sale, this
event will raise enough money in two hours to fund
many of the programs at John Stanford International
School, which recently won top honors in the Intel and Scholastic
Schools of Distinction Competition.>>I come from Honduras.>>Man: Honduras; Where are you from?>>Ethiopia.>>Narrator: The school
could have been honored for its multicultural perspective…>>I come from Mongolia.>>Man: Mongolia.>>Narrator: …or its integration
of technology, art, and music… [ Singing ]>>Narrator: …or the
active participation of parents and community members.>>Teacher: [Speaking Spanish]>>Narrator: But its main claim to fame is its language-immersion
approach to learning.>>Group: [Speaking Spanish]>>Narrator: Students here choose a
Spanish or Japanese language track.>>Teacher: [Speaking Japanese]>>Narrator: They spend half a
day studying math and science in their chosen language…>>Teacher: [Speaking Spanish]>>Narrator: …and the other
half learning social studies and language arts in English.>>Teacher: Tell me about what
happens at the beginning. Let’s start at the
beginning of the folktale.>>Karen: When we first started, we had no idea what our curriculum
should be and what we should teach in that second language, and of
course, we thought social studies at first because that’s
where all the meat is. We talk about cultures and things. Wrong. That’s very abstract. So the idea was we took math
and science, because that’s where you have a lot of the hands-on.>>Teacher: [Speaking Japanese]>>Hiromi: Research shows
math and science is easier as a second language because there
are so many hands-on activities, and we can do a lot of
project-based activities so that we can integrate the
language-acquisition part in the subject-content learning.>>Group: [Speaking Japanese]>>Narrator: Whether they
call it “yodo” or “humus,” kids at John Stanford know
what they’re learning.>>Claire: And we’re studying dirt.>>Group: [Speaking Spanish]>>Narrator: While most of the students are Americans
learning Spanish and Japanese, 25 percent of John Stanford’s
students are immigrants, who practice their newly
acquired English skills by reciting poetry during
the morning announcements.>>All: Alligator pie, alligator pie. If I don’t get some,
I think I’m gonna die.>>Karen: Our children from other
countries are learning English. Our children who are English speakers
are learning Japanese and Spanish. So we really level the playing field. Everyone understands what it
takes to learn a language, and everyone then begins
to appreciate each other.>>Narrator: Technology also
helps level the playing field, especially for the newcomers.>>Pat: Once you’ve picked
your flag, then you can write about your countries
just a little bit.>>Pat: What the kids are doing
right now is they’re working on a program called Kid Pix, and
what it does is helps the kids to learn how to manipulate
images, how to do some drawing.>>Now you can move it like that.>>Pat: I think it’s so engaging for
a lot of kids, and especially kids who have come from places where
this technology is not around. They’re moving in from chalkboards
and their own little slate to write on, to this, and I
think it’s really empowering. I mean, I think that they feel
like they’re a part of what’s going on and a part of the future [Singing in Spanish]>>Karen: Music as art is a way also
to go in and talk about cultures and learn about world cultures. We felt if we were going to do
a global curriculum that music and art were very important,
as well as learning a language.>>Hannah, what are you going to have?>>Narrator: Kodama, who
started the school in 2000, does a bit of everything here,
from serving up lunch every day to hosting a constant
stream of visitors.>>What would you like?>>Karen: This is a group of educators
from Japan, and they’re here to learn about an American school
system and to learn from us, and I think we learn
just as much from them.>>Groups: [Speaking Japanese]>>Narrator: Visitors marvel
at the school’s ability to teach second-language skills
while constantly improving their test scores, which for 2005
showed 90 percent proficiency in English and 79 percent in math.>>Gary: When you look
at the background of their kids speaking
totally different languages and learning another language,
to have such high test scores in the state is absolutely
remarkable. But it actually shows that learning
in other languages actually helps in the brain development.>>Group: [Speaking Japanese]>>Gary: It’s that flexibility of the brain that’s really helping
the brain develop and will be with our kids for the
rest of their life.>>PJ: If I go to Japan, I want to order something to
eat, I just say it. In Japanese. It’s easy. [Speaking Japanese] That means, “Can
I please have a hard-boiled egg?”>>Narrator: Teacher collaboration
and parent involvement are crucial to the success of the
immersion curriculum.>>Hiromi: I love team teaching. We can see each child
in three dimensions. Each teacher has a
different perspective, gives a wonderful whole
picture of each student, and that helps me teach
each student too.>>But he’s doing great. He’s very flexible with numbers.>>Amy: So it’s our job to be sure that we know what the other
teachers are teaching. If the Japanese teacher is
teaching geometry in class, but the Spanish teacher is
teaching algebraic sense in class, then I have to somehow find a way
to support both of those concepts in each of those different classes. And when you share a kid, you have
to always be sure that everybody is on the same page, everybody knows
what services their student is getting and everybody knows if
the parent has contacted you about a situation or an issue that’s
come up and we all have to be able to have the time to talk to
each other about all that.>>Narrator: John Stanford
parents help raise funds to pay for six native-language
instructional aides. [Speaking Japanese]>>Narrator: They also support
a sister-school relationship with Escuela Primera Juan de la
Barrera, the public elementary school in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Students and parents raise
money for the school, which they visit during
their winter break.>>Mary: The kids go into
the classroom for the week that we’re in Puerto Vallarta. They go into complete
immersion at that point. It’s on the playground
and everywhere. Our school offers an understanding
and celebration of culture. The kids, they’re just going to look at the world a completely different
way, and I think that we’re really, really fortunate to have that. [Speaking Japanese]>>Narrator: In addition to
acquiring a second language, John Stanford students gain
something even more valuable, an appreciation for diversity.>>Karen: When we talk
about acceptance of others and what it means for children
to be respectful of each other, you could talk about it and say
you should be nice to others. But it’s putting children in
situations where they begin to learn with each other, play with each
other, and see that we come from other cultures and other places, but we all smile in
the same language. [ Singing ]>>Narrator: For more
information on what works in public education,
go to Edutopia.org.

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