Amid all the stories about troubled public schools, it’s easy to overlook the success stories.
That’s why we welcome the news that Baton Rouge’s Westdale Middle School has won a national award recognizing its foreign language immersion program.
In an immersion program, students learn almost all of their subjects, such as history and science, in a foreign language. The idea is that by immersing students in a foreign language in this way, they’ll learn a second language more fluently than they might in a traditional foreign language class.
At Westdale, students in the foreign language program learn either Spanish or French. Recently, the school received one of the top School of the Year academic excellence awards from the Spanish Ministry of Education. That’s a nice honor not only for Westdale, but the entire East Baton Rouge Parish public school system.
Westdale’s foreign language immersion program is part of the school system’s magnet program, in which schools with specialized curriculums are used to attract highly motivated students.
As the world becomes increasingly smaller, students who are fluent in at least two languages will be in a much better position to compete for many jobs. Promoting foreign language instruction among Louisiana school children is an important way to make Louisiana more competitive in the global economy.
We salute Westdale Middle School on its honor, which is just the latest example of good things happening in local schools.