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Please Help Provide TODAY the Bilingual Essentials for the Future For Our Zilker Children

This will be seventh year that the PTA has been able to offer Spanish to our children.

Funding primarily comes from student tuition; but more that 40 percent of our 500 student base comes from economically disadvantaged families who cannot make additional payments. To make this program a success, we must raise at least $20,000 for PK-2nd and so we are asking you and your friends, families, and businesses in the community to support the program.

Any contribution is appreciated and it is a tax-deductible donation.  A tax donation letter will be sent before the end of the year.

Pay Spanish tuition or sponsor a student to learn Spanish.

Spanish Program FAQ

ZILKER SPANISH PROGRAM 

What is Zilker’s Spanish Program?  

The Zilker Spanish Program is an in-school transitional Spanish Language program that supports and sustains a bi-lingual culture at Zilker Elementary.   The program is supported by the principal, faculty and PTA and encompasses (1) Content-based Spanish instruction in the classroom; (2) Spanish conversations; (3) Spanish holiday celebrations; (4) Spanish technology enrichment; (5) newsletters; and (6) take-home lessons to allow family members to share in the learning experience.  It is funded through an annual tuition of $160/ per student per school year; similar instruction is $80/month.

Each child in every PK-2nd classroom receives Spanish language instruction at least once a week from a certified Spanish language instructor during regular school hours.  Spanish is integrated seamlessly into the daily curriculum.   Twenty-four weeks of Spanish instruction per student from 45-60 minutes a week for the school year.

What is the curriculum?

The curriculum is taught and provided by Futura Language Professionals. More information is available at their website, www.futuraadventures.com or see below.

Will my child be proficient in Spanish?

Proficiency is not attainable at elementary school level unless children are in a dual language classroom for 5 years. This program is about complimenting the dual language program for all other students to build the aptitude for a foreign language.  The benefits are long term not short term.

Our program is designed to be a FLEX (foreign language experience or exploratory) which aims at providing students with general exposure to language and culture.  Practicing at home and participating in other cultural exposures will continue to enhance your child’s Spanish language experience.  The more repetition the more your child will absorb.

Why Spanish vs. French, Chinese or another language?

Texas is already heavily influenced by the Hispanic culture.  Learning Spanish becomes a perfect springboard for an Austin-based elementary school.  Additionally, it is the dual language choice of the Austin Independent School District (AISD).

How can I get involved?

By paying tuition, working with your child at home on Spanish, sponsoring other children, or helping the Spanish Committee which is a sub-committee of the PTA that maintains the program.

We are also seeking other ways to raise money for the program via grants, endowments, etc. If you would like to suggest other fundraising means, please contact us.

FUNDING

How is it funded?

Primarily the funding will come from parents and other family members in the form of voluntary annual tuition donations per student for the entire year.    The tuition is tax-deductible.     But while tuition is not mandatory, it is essential. The robustness of the program is dependent upon your generosity. Your contribution, at any amount, is critical.  Payment plans are available.

How can I sponsor additional children?

We have different levels of sponsorship to accommodate contribution levels from one student to an endowment and there is legacy recognition for each level of contribution.  All contributions are tax deductible.

Please ask friends, families, and businesses for donations.  Depending on the level of sponsorship business can receive recognition at school events and within school communications.

Lastly, don’t forget to ask grandparents, friends, and neighbors for assistance.  Any and all contributions are tax-deductible and are greatly appreciated.

WHY LEARN SPANISH?

What are the benefits of learning a second language?

Greater cognitive ability, improved aptitude, increased global awareness, varied career opportunities among others.  It is essential to prepare our children for the Global Workforce.   Proven results:

  1. Language learning correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized test measures.
  2. Early language learners transfer skills form one language to another.
  3. There is a correlation between bilingualism and intelligence, memory skills, problem solving ability, improved verbal and spatial abilities, and metalinguistic skills.
  4. The economic, humanistic and cognitive benefits of learning foreign languages are immediate and long term.

It enhances the development of bilingualism, biculturalism, and biliteracy so that students will graduate ready for college, career, and life in a globally competitive economy.

And for more information, click here.

FUTURA

For a high level introduction to Futura, click here.

What is a typical Futura class like?

Futura classes are fun! Our goal is to create lifelong language learners, which means we want our students to be engaged in the language and enjoying it. It is our hope that students in our classes go on to study Spanish in middle school, high school, and college. Therefore, we don’t spend a lot of time sitting in desks, as Futura classes are hands-on and dynamic. We use songs, games, and cultural activities that are age appropriate so the students are sure to fall in love with the language. Students who graduate the Futura 10-level program know how to read and write in Spanish, conjugate verbs, and create complex sentences.

Who are the instructors?

Our teachers have a wide range of backgrounds, but all of them are Bilingual and have experience working with children.   All Futura teachers:

  • Go through our reference and state and national background check process
    • Take part in our formal training program each school year
    • Are formally observed and evaluated a minimum of one time throughout the semester
    • Have a dedicated manager who supports them throughout the semester

Why is Futura successful?

Our classes are designed to follow the natural patterns of language acquisition.  This is done by providing hands on conversation building blocks and slowly integrating grammar instruction, which parallels first language skills. We also recognize that children need to continuously repeat lessons in order to retain and utilize their new language abilities. Therefore, we use a method which incorporates new lessons with ones the children learned in past classes.  For example, in Level II Spanish the children will learn body parts. This will also give them great practice using their number and color skills. Example: “I have two eyes and they are green.” “Tengo dos ojos. Mis ojos son verdes.”

What is Futura’s goal?

Our goal ~ is that children in our classes become lifelong language learners. After graduating from our ten-part series of Spanish courses, your child will have a strong knowledge of language and culture. We understand however, that language fluency is a process which develops over the course of a lifetime. It is our hope that your child continues to study language in school, studies abroad or travels internationally, and that he or she is forever sensitive to non-English speakers here in the United States.

Does Futura offer additional learning opportunities?

Yes, Futura has several opportunities to complement the program which enables students to learn more. We offer summer camps, ability to travel abroad, adult classes, tutoring, and take home materials.  You can keep Spanish alive at home or in the car with our Pronunciation and Music CD’s.