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Benefits of Longfellow Middle School


The Benefits of Longfellow’s K-8 Spanish Immersion Magnet School

Have you ever wondered about the long-term benefits of staying at Longfellow through the 8th grade?  
As you may have already noticed, Longfellow is a very special and atypical K-8 Spanish language immersion school.  Our middle school Spanish course offerings are unique, site specific courses and they are not well known by most middle and high schools. 
Hopefully this communication will clarify all of the benefits currently available to all 8th graders attending Longfellow’s middle school. 
You enrolled your child/ren in this school for the gift of bilingualism and biliteracy and Longfellow is the only K-8 school in San Diego Unified School District offering a one-way total Spanish immersion TK-8 education program that develops high levels of oral and written Spanish proficiency. 
Currently, students who stay at Longfellow through the 8th grade have the opportunity to achieve the following accomplishments in Spanish:
  • ·    World Language high school graduation credit for successful completion of SLIM 3-4 course in 7th grade.
  •      World Language high school graduation credit for successful completion of AP Spanish course in 8th grade.
  •      The UC system and other universities will recognize a score of 3 or higher on the AP Spanish exam for college credit. 
  •      Successful passing scores on the AP Spanish exam and/or the Biliteracy Attainment Award will meet a significant portion of the criteria needed to earn the Seal of Biliteracy in high school.
Developing high levels of oral and written language proficiency is a long term process that should continue through the high school years.  Language learning is influenced by many factors, including student personality and motivation, teacher expectations, parental support, program leadership as well as site and district support.  Student success in language learning requires the active involvement of all of these stakeholders.
Below is a description of the benefits of remaining at Longfellow through the middle school grades:
SLIM Courses at Longfellow
The SLIM course is a one-period balanced literacy course taught entirely in Spanish that builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in prior years in the immersion program.  This site-specific designed course prepares students for world language study in International Baccalaureate Diploma Programs.  The course of study for Spanish literacy courses at Longfellow is as follows:
  •      6thgrade - SLIM 1-2
  •      7thGrade - SLIM 3-4
  •      8thgrade – AP Spanish
Advanced Placement Spanish Course at Longfellow
The 2014-2015 school year marked the first year of offering the AP Spanish Language course to all 8thgraders at Longfellow.  The AP Program is a way for schools to provide their students with courses of study appropriate to their abilities and interests, with reasonable assurance that these studies will not be repeated in college. 
Advanced Placement Exam
In the San Diego Unified School District, any student may take an AP exam.  Longfellow is one the few middle schools offering the AP Spanish Language & Culture Exam to 8th graders!   Eighth grade students prepare all year long for this exam.  This exam is administered in early May and students receive their results in July. 
Students who score a 3, 4, or 5 on an AP exam may get college credit at their intended university, if the university accepts such courses for credit.  A passing score on the AP Exam is a passing score regardless of the year in which the test was taken.  Middle school students are eligible for AP exam credit.
National Spanish Examination
The National Spanish Examinations are the most widely used tests of Spanish in the United States. It is a program of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. The National Spanish Examinations are online, standardized assessment tools for Grades 6 -12, given voluntarily by over 3800 teachers throughout the United States to measure proficiency and achievement of students who are studying Spanish as a second language.  Escuela Longfellow students have been participating in this March exam since 2010 and have consistently won gold, silver, bronze, and honorable mention.
Biliteracy Attainment Award Presentation
Achieving advanced levels of knowledge and proficiency in another language takes many years and must start early with young children.  The Seal of Biliteracy also establishes a system of "pathway" awards from pre-school through high school recognizing benchmarks towards biliteracy.  These awards are designed to reward engagement in pursuit of language skills in two or more languages, to affirm positive attitudes towards multilingualism, and to validate the use of multiple languages for all students.  Additionally, these awards promote the need for students to continue in long-term, sequential world language study in high school. 
All eighth graders are guided throughout the school year in preparing for this end-of-May opportunity to earn the Biliteracy  Attainment Award. 
Seal of Biliteracy
In May of 2011, the Board of Trustees of the San Diego Unified School District adopted a district Seal of Biliteracy. This is an award granted to high school seniors upon graduation certifying attainment of mastery in two of more languages.  It is a statement by the school system that mastery of two or more languages is important and worthy of special recognition.  It encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the achievement of our students, and acknowledges the skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices. 
A Seal of Biliteracy is granted to all students who apply for the Seal and who meet the following criteria:
  • Successful completion of all San Diego Unified high school graduation requirements including demonstrating Proficiency in English as measured through the CAHSEE, or, the California Standards Test/English Language Arts (CST/ELA) administered at the senior high level (grades 9-11).
  • And ONE of the following World Language requirements:
    • OPTION 1:  Successful completion of three to four years of instruction in the same world language, with an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher in all world language course work.  The course work must also include one of thefollowing: 
      • An Honors 7-8 course with a score of Proficient or higher, as determined by district developed end of course exam.
      • An upper level IB course with a score of"4" or higher, as determined by the IB testing agency.
    • OPTION 2:  A score of "3" or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam for world language.
      • The AP exam should be taken prior to the 12th grade and verified through a notification letter from the College Board.
      • Note: Students who choose to take an AP course BUT choose not to take the AP exam, will need to pass the Honors 7-8 exam with a score of Proficient or higher. 
    • OPTION 3:  A passing score (varies by language) on the SAT II World language Subject Test as verified by a notification letter from the College Board.
    • OPTION 4:  A passing score on the district developed assessment of proficiency in a language other than English
      •  Verified by a signed copy of the district's "Language Other Than English Certification" form.
Please note that Longfellow’s eighth graders who successfully achieve passing scores on the AP Exam and/or Biliteracy Attainment Award Presentation will have met their World Language requirement for achieving the Seal of Biliteracy.