Maywood School Celebrates Holidays With International Flair

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Students during Washington Dual Language Academy’s “Christmas Around the World” assembly performed numerous poems and songs from cultures around the globe on Thursday afternoon. | Shanel Romain/VFP

washington-dual-language-academy_students-performThursday, December 15, 2016 || By Shanel Romain || @maywoodnews

J’Larean Anderson beamed as she watched her third-grade son, Joshua Dawson, participate in the “Christmas Around the World” assembly Thursday afternoon at Washington Dual Language Academy, 1111 Washington Blvd.

The international premise of the event is fitting for the district’s student population, said District 89 Superintendent David Negron.

“We have children literally from all walks of life and every part of the world,” Negron said. “It’s standing room only here because the parents always enjoy watching their children sing and dance. This is a wonderful representation of the diversity of cultures in our community.”

The Dual Language Academy was created in the wake of the district’s 2014 transition from being comprised of all elementary schools to a mixture of K-5, preK-5, 6-8 middle and specialized schools, such as Washington, a multicultural and multilingual school that serves PreK through third-grade students. Eventually, the school will serve students up to 8th grade.

“We teach our students 80 percent Spanish and 20 percent English,” said Darryl Bass, a member of Washington’s parent advisory council. “Our test scores are the highest in the district.”

Washington Principal Lourdes Perez said that students, such as Dawson, enter the school at varying levels of fluency but they all leave as bilingual speakers.

“He came in speaking only English, but now he speaks English and Spanish,” said Anderson of her son. “He also reads and writes fluently in both languages.”

The Christmas assembly, which was attended by numerous elected officials, including state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) and Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, is a moment for students to let their fluency shine, said Perez.

“We are a multicultural and multilingual school and these are cultures they represent,” she said, adding that the children sang songs and recited poems from cultures in Asia, Mexico, the Caribbean and Africa — to only mention some.

For Anderson, the exposure is why she enrolled her son in the school.

“I believe that in the near future, we’re going to need to communicate with everyone in all walks of life and I don’t want my children to be left behind in that aspect,” she said. “People who are bilingual make more money throughout their careers and tend to exceed to high heights in their lives. That’s what I want for my children.”

For more information on Washington Dual Language Academy, click hereVFP 

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