Baltimore County Public Schools, Middlebury Interactive Languages

New Spanish Blended Learning Program in Baltimore Sees Early Success

Fourth graders at 10 elementary schools in Baltimore County are gaining tangible Spanish language skills through a new blended learning program.

May 1, 2015

Extensive research shows that language instruction is most effective at a young age. Learning a new language also has wide-ranging benefits to a developing brain, including boosts in creativity, empathy and academic achievement, among other things. For those reasons, Middlebury Interactive is very proud of a new partnership with the Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) that this fall created new Spanish blended learning programs at 10 of the district’s elementary schools.

The early results of this partnership has been very positive for students and teachers, as shown by an article and accompanying video from the Baltimore Sun. Through this program, fourth graders at participating schools take Spanish with both a district teacher and through Middlebury Interactive’s digital programs. The Spanish program was championed by BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance, and the district is looking into how it can expand the program to reach more children in the future.

While parents across the country want the benefits of high quality language education for their children, in reality language programs, especially for younger students, have been in the decline for years in our public schools. In 1998, only 31% of elementary schools offered foreign language courses. Today that number is around 25%. This is a big reason why we trail economic competitors like the European Union in the strength of our bilingual workforce.  

Our nation’s growing world language gap makes the partnership with BCPS all the more progressive and important. As the article mentions, BCPS was able to ramp up a comprehensive Spanish program over 10 schools very quickly and at an affordable cost to the district. While it’s early, the feedback we are hearing from folks on the district level has been very positive. As BCPS Spanish teacher Reier says in the Sun article, “The younger you start the language, the more you acquire. I honestly feel that these fourth-graders pick it up faster than the seventh-graders.”

Congratulations to Dr. Dance and the entire BCPS team for the early success of the program. We look forward to helping support this new generation of globally focused, bilingual Baltimore students.

Read the full article from the Baltimore Sun here.

Erin McCormick
Originally a Jersey girl, Erin fled the traffic of the tri-state area for the quaint town of Middlebury for college and never left. She runs Middlebury Interactive’s marketing team, where her passions for technology, languages, writing and design collide. When she’s not tweeting new marketing trends or critiquing TV advertisements, she’s likely shopping on Etsy, road tripping on the back roads of Vermont or sampling craft beers.
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