O.J. Neighbors receives DLI grant from state

By Josh Sigler

O.J. Neighbours Elementary School was chosen as one of 10 schools in Indiana to receive an Indiana Dual Language Immersion Pilot Program grant, it was announced Wednesday, May 30.

“Presenting students with opportunities to learn multiple languages and about diverse cultures prepares them for the 21st century in which we live,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. “I am thankful for the awarded schools who are providing Indiana students with this opportunity.”

The Dual Language Immersion Program provides grants to school corporations that establish or expand dual language immersion programs in Mandarin, Spanish, French or other languages approved by the Indiana Department of Education.
In its fourth year, the DLI program distributes financial assistance to school corporations or charter schools for either the establishment of new DLI programs or the introduction of new languages in existing DLI programs.

Those programs must begin in either kindergarten or first grade and use an instructional model that provides at least 50 percent of its instruction in a target language and the remaining percentage of instructional time in English, the DOE explained in a press release.

Wabash won the grant for the second year in a row. O.J. Neighbors Principal Danielle Miller was elated to receive the news of the grant award.

“We are extremely excited,” Miller said. “We did receive it last year. And, then to know that with the growth of dual immersion in Indiana with more schools applying for the grant, that we were one of 10 selected in this year’s round is just phenomenal.”
The grant award is for a total of $49,290. Miller explained that that money will go towards a number of dual immersion related activities and materials.

Some of the money is going for professional development.

O.J. Neighbors has contracted for a second year in a row with Dr. Vesna Dimitrieska from the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration through Indiana University Bloomington.

“She’s provides professional development, but she also spends time in those classrooms, observing and giving us feedback so that we can help develop the curriculum instruction in the classroom,” Miller said. “Part of that partnership with IU is these teachers in the dual immersion program will actually attend training at IU with a lot of different national speakers.”

O.J. Neighbors will also undergo training sessions with the DOE.

In addition, dual immersion staff members will not be afforded the opportunity to attend a national conference on biliteracy. The staff will also be travelling to Utah, a state which is one of the early pioneers of the dual language program.

“Utah as a state has been doing dual immersion for many years,” Miller said. “They have a lot of longitudinal research to back up the benefit. We’re actually going to be able to go visit their department of education and talk to their dual language program staff. We’re really excited about that.”

The grant will also allow O.J. Neighbors to purchase materials such as Spanish-leveled reading sets, and authentic Spanish literature to use in the classroom.

“This is a new program – we’re in our second year and we don’t have those resources,” Miller said. “So, we’re getting the support to build the program. But, then we’re also getting the support to provide materials for the students in the program, as well.”

Posted on 2018 Jun 12