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Learning in kindergarten in Spanish and English at the same time

The bilingual schooling program in Muscatine is looking to match the success that other bilingual school programs across the country have found.

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Franklin Elementary School in Muscatine may look like your typical school from the outside. But inside, there is something very special going on. 

Last year they began a new bilingual program for pre-school students. Those kids that were in pre-school then, are now kindergarteners, and the program is growing with them.

"They're reading, they're writing, they're speaking in both Spanish and English," said Principal Corry Spies.

Monica Chavez is a first year teacher at Franklin, and she uses various strategies to help her students succeed. 

"A lot of visuals, a lot of color. Technology is another thing because they are not only hearing it from me. So if I have iPads that read stories in Spanish, they're kind of getting that also from that too," Chavez said.

The school district says the program is a long term investment in the youth of Muscatine, and one that will hopefully set the kids up for success in the future. The bilingual program is looking to match the success that other similar programs across the country have found. 

"The research bears out that those students who are participating in dual language programs are scoring significantly better on achievement tests as they progress through their education career," Spies said.

Principal Spies says the program tries to have a fifty-fifty blend of students whose first language is Spanish and those whose first language is English. 

In all her cuteness, kindergarten student Itzel Juarez sums up her thoughts on the program by saying "It's kinda great."

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