New interactive program helps Varnett students learn English
Educators amazed at student progress
HOUSTON – Varnett Public School students who spoke little or no English a few weeks ago are now speaking and writing sentences during the initial stages of the Rosetta Stone language program.
Rosetta Stone is available at all three Varnett charter school campuses, but educators at Northeast are already working with at least 180 students after starting the program just after the winter break.
On a recent visit, students donning headphones could be heard repeating sentences such as “the sun is yellow,” or “I am not a teacher.”
“We are very excited about this program,” said Mrs. Leslie Jaco, the English-as-a-second Language teacher who is assisted by Ms. Yolanda Valadez. “We have seen great progress with our students.”
NE educators explain how the program works (Video)
In addition to reading, Spanish-speaking students are also learning to write sentences by using the interactive software. Rosetta Stone, instituted by Dr. Margaret Stroud, Varnett’s superintendent, is widely recognized today as the industry leader in providing an effective language program that is offered around the world in many languages. At Varnett, it is designed to break down language barriers that limit the way Spanish-speaking students communicate with their teachers and tackle assignments.
Watch students practice English pronunciations!
Two students, Jennifer and Klever, spoke absolutely no English when the training began. However, the third-graders were practicing short sentences by late January.
Students in the program look at the computer screen and are instructed to repeat various commands in English. Theyare aided by visuals that correspond with the commands and are not allowed to proceed until they respond correctly. Rosetta Stone also tracks the progress of each student.
Jennifer is learning how to type in English (Video)
Varnett last week gave instructions on how to access and use Rosetta Stone on computers, laptops, smart phones, I-Pads and Kindles. “We’re trying to promote access for students outside of school hours so they can go home and learn,” said Mr. Jeff Siler, Varnett’s technology director.
“It warms your heart,” said Ms. Toni Fisher, Northeast Campus director. “It’s been an amazing program for our students. Now that we will be rolling it out to our parents, we are super excited."