BATESVILLE – The Batesville Community School Corporation (BCSC) is pleased to announce it has been chosen as the 2020 recipient of the Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association (IFLTA) Wide World Award for Distinguished Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Program, according to BCSC Assistant Superintendent Melissa Burton.
“Our Mandarin dual immersion program is in its fifth year, with our inaugural class now in fourth grade at the Batesville Intermediate School (BIS),” Burton said. “Starting in kindergarten, participants in this program are instructed in both English and in Mandarin, giving them a unique experience not offered at any other public school corporation in our state.”
BCSC’s program gives the students a 50/50 split in instruction, with students moving between two classrooms, one English-speaking and one Mandarin-speaking. The curriculum must also meet all other Indiana academic standards.
“We set high goals for the students in this program,” added Brad Stoneking, Batesville Primary School (BPS) principal, where the youngest learners in the DLI program begin their immersion. “We expect them to exhibit high levels of proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in both English and Mandarin, as well as in their other subjects. In addition, the program provides them with an in-depth understanding of another culture.”
The IFLTA awards highlight outstanding contributions and successful efforts to demonstrate the importance of language skills in our globalized 21st century economy. They also reflect the vital link between excellence in K-12 and university world language teaching, research and advocacy and our Indiana communities’ businesses and organizations.
“It was clear to the awards committee that Batesville has one of the strongest Chinese Dual Language Immersion programs in Indiana and in the nation,” wrote Israel F. Herrera, chair of the IFLTA selection committee, in the award letter.
“We totally believe that your DLI program will open many career opportunities for students in Batesville,” Herrera’s letter continued. “They will take advantages of the job opportunities that Chinese companies offer in the region. It has been outstanding to read everything you have done in the last five years of the DLI program.”
BCSC was recognized for its achievement at this year’s IFLTA Fall Virtual Conference “All IN: INnovate INspire INclude” during a gala presentation of both the Indiana Global and Multil-IN-gual Awards and the Teacher of the Year Award on November 7, 2020. Introducing BCSC at the awards ceremony was Caterina Blitzer, former global learning and world languages curriculum specialist at the Indiana Department of Education and a current member of the IFLTA Global and Multil-IN-gual Awards Committee.
“The Batesville Primary School and Batesville School Corporation are exemplary in fostering authentic student and teacher exchange experiences,” Blitzer said. “Batesville students enrolled in the DLI program will graduate exceptionally well-prepared for the wide and interconnected world of their future.”
“The Batesville Community School Corporation has a long-standing reputation as a leader on the Indiana educational landscape,” Burton added. “When we took on this challenge to provide a Mandarin immersion program in a rural community five years ago, we knew it wouldn’t be easy. From recruiting and retaining Mandarin teachers to adjusting the ways we deliver curriculum in a dual-language atmosphere, providing a program like this requires us to constantly adapt. This award reinforces our long-term efforts and we are grateful to the committee for our selection.”