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Secondary Spanish Immersion


Hola Padres, Estudiantes, y Familias,

Welcome to the page for all things Jenison Secondary Spanish Immersion. Please feel free to explore and learn more about our program, meet our teachers, and contact us easily and quickly. 

We thank you for all of your support and feedback as our program grows and evolves. We were so excited to celebrate our first graduating class in 2023. We commend this trailblazer group for the way they paved the way for future immersion students.

Muchas gracias,

Your Secondary Spanish Immersion Team

The Benefits of a Bilingual Brain

Meet your secondary Spanish Immersion teachers

Lindsey Remley

Sommer Cain

Jenison High School 
Spanish Immersion AP Prep (SI AP Prep)

¡Hola! My name is Sommer Cain and I teach Spanish Immersion AP Prep (SI AP Prep). I attended Western Michigan University for my bachelor's degree in Spanish education and my master's degree in Spanish Linguistics and Literature. I've lived and studied in both Spain and Mexico and I've also traveled to several other Spanish-speaking countries. SI AP Prep is a course designed to prepare Spanish Immersion students for the rigor of AP Spanish Language and Culture the following year. In SI AP Prep, we focus on fine-tuning our grammar skills and building our "cultural toolbox." I can't wait to help S.I. students improve their Spanish skills even more this year!

Clare Chamberlin

Jenison Junior High School
7th & 8th Grade SI Language Arts
7th Grade Comparative Language

¡Hola! This is my 6th year at the junior high school and my 11th year teaching middle school Spanish immersion. I have studied in Santander, Spain, and have had the opportunity to travel and experience the cultures of Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica. I received my bachelor's degree from Michigan State University with a major in Education and minors in Spanish, English, and Math. I received my master's degree from Aquinas College in Bilingual Spanish Education. Comparative Language has been such a joy to teach, as it helps fill language gaps that are impossible to cover during elementary school, on top of the required curriculum. This course is a grammar, language, culture course designed specifically for immersion students.

Lindsey Remley

Jenison High School
AP Spanish Language and Culture 
Spanish in the Community 

Hola, I’m Lindsey and this is my 13th year of teaching high school Spanish. I have studied in both Spain and Mexico and I have a daughter at El Puente.  I teach Advanced Placement (AP) Language and Culture and Spanish 7,8. AP Spanish is equivalent to a 3rd year university course and the students practice presentational, interpretive, and interpersonal Spanish with content that is representative of the native Spanish-speaking world. Students are encouraged to take the AP Exam in May to earn college credits.  Spanish 7,8 is the AP-Prep course that follows a similar curriculum as the AP class but with more guidance from the teacher.

Travis Sands
Christina SchreurJuan Gonzalez

Travis Sands

Jenison High School 
SI U.S. History 
SI World History 

Travis teaches Spanish Immersion U.S. History and World History and Spanish in the World Language Department.

Christina Schreur

Jenison Junior High School 
7th & 8th Grade SI Social Studies 
8th Grade Comparative Language

Hola! I’m Cristina Schreur. I have previously taught ESL (K-12), Middle School Spanish, Elementary Spanish Immersion, and High School Spanish. This is my first year as a Social Studies Spanish Immersion Teacher at Jenison. I went to GVSU for my BA and Master’s.  I also studied abroad in Guadalajara (México) & Sevilla and Barcelona in España.  I have travelled to 20-30 countries in 6 continents as a teacher leader with student travel groups. I am looking forward to teaching 7th grade World History, 8th grade American History, and 8th grade Comparative Languages.

Juan Gonzalez

Jenison High School 
Spanish Immersion English 9 
Spanish Immersion English 10 
Spanish Immersion English 11 

¡Hola! My name is Juan Gonzalez, and I am the High School Language Arts for Immersion Teacher. Currently, I am teaching SI-English 9 and SI-English 10 which are similar to the English equivalents, with some translated works, and others that are authentic to specific countries. This is my fourth year teaching and at Jenison Senior High School. I was born in Monterrey, Mexico, and grew up speaking Spanish at home, while learning English at school. I officially took Spanish classes at the university level (at Western Michigan University) with a special interest in linguistics and literature courses. I also studied abroad in Burgos, Spain, where I not only took courses at the Universidad de Burgos, but taught conversational English classes for the city. While I have only been to Mexico (practically every year to visit family) and Spain, I plan on eventually spending time in each of the 21 Spanish-Speaking countries.
Photo of Hannah Sanchez and her family

Hannah Sanchez

Jenison Junior High School
World Language Teacher

¡Hola!  My name is Hannah Sanchez and this is my 11th year at the Junior High School as a world language teacher.  I have obtained both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Grand Valley State University.  While I did not have the opportunity to study abroad, my husband is from Mexico and we travel at least once a year to visit his family that still lives there.  We are a Spanish speaking home as I am hoping my two children will learn the language as they grow.  I am very excited to be working with the immersion students this year and sharing my passion for the Spanish language with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the contact person for questions concerning Secondary Spanish Immersion?

Please contact Clare Chamberlin, the secondary Spanish immersion department head. Clare can help with program questions, immersion questions, and finding resources. If she is unable to answer your questions, she will put you in touch with the best contact. Clare can be reached at [email protected] or through this Google Form.

What does the Spanish Immersion program look like at Jenison Junior High?

7th grade students who wish to continue in the Spanish Immersion program at the Junior High will be enrolled in Maestra Chamberlin's Spanish Language Arts, Maestra Schreur's Spanish Social Studies, and a one semester 7th grade Comparative Language course with Maestra Sanchez.

As students move into 8th grade, they will be enrolled in Maestra Chamberlin's Spanish Language Arts, Maestra Schreur's Spanish Social Studies, and a one semester 8th grade Comparative Language Course with Maestra Schreur.  Students' language proficiency will be assessed during January of their 8th grade year using the AAPPL test. 

*Students who need extra support in Fusion Language Arts will not be removed from the program. These students will take the appropriate language arts class and will continue with Spanish Social Studies and Comparative Language.

What is Comparative Language? (7th and 8th grades)

Comparative Language is a series of two required, one semester, Spanish Immersion classes, which strive to fill the gaps in grammar instruction, iron out fossilized/late acquired language, and build confidence and ownership of students’ bilingualism. These classes follow the immersion model and are taught in Spanish. There are a few "bridging moments" in which the instruction intentionally plans a link between English and Spanish to help the students notice differences and similarities in morphology, syntax, and other structural aspects of language. 

Some goals of the classes:

  • Students will begin to see the value in their bilingual abilities and identities. They will understand the cognitive, metalinguistic, and cultural benefits of bilingualism.

  • Students will begin to take ownership of their language and strive to utilize the rules that govern it. They will begin noticing previous “fossilized” areas and gaining late acquired language. 

  • Students will build background knowledge of the mechanics and conventions of their language which will aid them in their literacy.

  • Students will expand their knowledge of the history of Spanish through the study of civilizations and conquistadores. They will examine the power of language through a novel study and different cultural texts.

  • Students will expand their knowledge of the geography, culture, and language differences among the Spanish speaking countries. 

  • Students will expand BICS (Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) through authentic texts, audio, and social situations.

What does Spanish Immersion look like at Jenison High School?

Spanish Immersion at Jenison High School has much more flexibility and choice to accommodate student schedules. In order to maintain language proficiency and continuing growing as a Spanish speaker, it is recommended that immersion students take on 2 hours of immersion courses. To remain part of the immersion program, students should aim to take and pass one Spanish Immersion class during their freshman, sophomore, and junior years.

A 9th grade student who wishes to take on every Spanish Immersion opportunity will be enrolled in Spanish Immersion English Language 9, Spanish Immersion United States History, and a Spanish Language course (placed based on a student's AAPPL test results).

A 10th grade student who wishes to take every Spanish Immersion offering will be enrolled in Spanish Immersion English Language 10, Spanish Immersion World History, and a Spanish Language course (continuing in the track the student began as a freshman). 

An 11th or 12th grade student who wishes to take every Spanish Immersion offering will enroll in Spanish Immersion English 11/12. Another option for 11th and 12th graders is Spanish in the Community, a one semester, internship-based class which aims to provide students with authentic experiences to use their Spanish. The student may also take a Spanish Language course (continuing in the track the student began as a freshman, this could mean taking a GVSU course.)

How are immersion class credits coded at the high school level?

There is at times, some confusion as to how immersion courses fit into a student's schedule at the credit level. 

SI English Language 9 and SI English Language 10 count as a student's English Language credits.

SI United States History and SI World History count as a student's Social Studies credits. 

Any other immersion classes from the World Language track count as World Language credits.

What does the Spanish Immersion World Language Track look like at the high school?

As students are entering their freshman year, they are invited to enter the World Language Track (to earn World Language Credits) with courses designed specifically for Immersion students. 

  1. The default Spanish Immersion Language Course for 9th graders is Spanish Immersion AP Prep (SI AP Prep). SI AP Prep is a course designed to prepare Spanish Immersion students for the rigor of AP Spanish Language and Culture the following year. In SI AP Prep, we focus on fine-tuning our grammar skills and building our "cultural toolbox."

  2. The 10th grade Spanish Immersion Language Course is AP Spanish Language and Culture. AP Spanish Language and Culture is a rigorous course that emphasizes communication by applying interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational skills in real-life situations. This includes vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. The course engages students in an exploration of culture in both contemporary and historical contexts. The course develops students’ awareness and appreciation of cultural products; practices; and perspectives. 

    • In May of their 10th grade year, students have the option of taking the AP Spanish Language and Culture AP Exam. A 4 or higher is also an alternate way to qualify for the Michigan Seal of Biliteracy. 

    • AP Spanish Language and Culture is equivalent to a 300-level college course in Spanish. At Grand Valley State University, a student will earn 16 credits for a 5 on the exam (this varies by score and university).

  3. GVSU Spanish Storytelling Course (SPAN 380) taught on JHS campus. 

How can my student fast track into AP Spanish Language and Culture as a freshman?

Students who earn all A1 (Advanced) ratings on their AAPPL test taken during January of their 8th grade year may fast track into AP Spanish Language and Culture. AP courses are generally taken as during a students' junior year of high school. This is a rigorous course and so interested, qualifying students are asked to bring home a guardian recommendation form to verify that they possess the maturity and motivation to take Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture as a freshman.

Can high school students take GVSU classes on Jenison Senior High's campus?

Yes! Upon completion of AP Spanish Language and Culture, students may enroll in a GVSU Spanish Storytelling Course (SPAN 380). The course is taught on Jenison Senior High's campus during the school day. Students are taught by a GVSU instructor and earn college credit. This class acts as a gateway to other GVSU classes taught on their own campus. 

What is available for students after they complete the Grand Valley State University Spanish course

After completing the Spanish Storytelling Course (SPAN 380) taught by a GVSU instructor the the Senior High, students wishing to continue pursuing college credit should enroll to take SPAN 321 Conversation and Composition on campus at GVSU. Upon completion of SPAN 321, they should then take SPAN 322 Convo and Comp 2, also on campus at GVSU. 

And after these two courses, students can choose whatever courses they would like for their major or minor.

How are secondary Spanish immersion students held accountable for their language use?

At the secondary level, students are expected to remain in the target language 100% of the time. We treasure every second of Spanish we can have, and so switching back and forth to English is disruptive and against our model. We strongly believe that secondary students now have ownership over their immersion experience, and so should monitor their own language use. The only exception to this expectation is the bridging lesson (please see below). 

At the Junior High, this belief is scaffolded and reinforced with a Spanish Speaking Grade each week. Students earn a grade (10 points) each week for maintaining Spanish as their target language in each of their immersion classes. Each time a student is asked to switch back to Spanish, he or she loses 2 points for that week's grade.

At the High School, Spanish is an expectation for all immersion students. This is not a specific grade, as it is believed that if students are continuing in the program, they have motivation to maintain and continue to grow their Spanish language proficiency. English is not tolerated. 

**Bridging lessons are an intentional metalinguistic connection between English and Spanish to help students grow in their knowledge of both languages. Bridging lessons are planned intentionally by immersion teachers and focus on morphology and other language traits that will aid students in their language.

When will my student's language proficiency be tested?

Your student's Spanish language proficiency will be tested in early February of their 8th grade year using the AAPPL (ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages®). This assessment will test students in each of the four language domains (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking). This test is helpful, for it guides our instruction, helps students and families see a student's strengths, and will help with placement within the Spanish language track at the high school. This assessment can also provide students eligibility for the Michigan Seal of Biliteracy.

What is the Michigan Seal of Biliteracy? How is it earned?

The Michigan Seal of Biliteracy is an award presented to students who have demonstrated proficiency in English and at least one other world language by high school graduation. The Seal provides employers with a way to identify individuals with strong language and biliteracy skills. The Seal serves as an additional tool for colleges and universities to recognize applicants’ language abilities for admission and placement.

The AAPPL test is an approved assessment used to provide evidence of Spanish language proficiency, meeting the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) criteria of Intermediate High or equivalent in each domain. Typically, this assessment is completed in a student’s junior year of high school, however, a recent law change has allowed immersion programs to test at the 8th grade level. An alternative route to earn the Seal of Biliteracy is a 4 on the AP Spanish exam. 

If your child achieves I5 or A1 in each of the four language domains, he or she has achieved the requirements of the Seal of Biliteracy.

It is important to note that per the Michigan Department of Education requirements, in order to have this Seal of Biliteracy on your student’s diploma without another assessment in 11th grade, your child must have three years of continued enrollment in at least one immersion or Spanish class. 

How is the AAPPL test scored and how do I understand the implications of the scores?

A single AAPPL Score, according to the ACTFL Performance Scale, is issued for each of the four components of the test (Interpersonal Listening/Speaking, Presentational Writing, Interpretive Reading, and Interpretive Listening). Test takers receive a written AAPPL Score Report consisting of an AAPPL Score for each of the four components, a brief narrative explaining each score, and recommendations for improvement. In addition, each student receives a certificate which lists his or her results in each of the four language domains.  Official scoring is conducted by ACTFL Certified AAPPL raters.
ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines

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