Dress up as your favorite character day was in full swing at the St. Louis Language Immersion Schools (SLLIS) located in Forest Park Southeast when WUMCRC stopped by to interview founder and president Rhonda Broussard. Not only did I notice that just about everyone was in costume, even the teachers, but depending on what section of the school I was in, I heard no English spoken, only French or Spanish. Even gym class was conducted in non-English.
Broussard is dedicated to teaching the youth about what it means to be multilingual & multiliterate. Broussard earned National Board Certification and has taught French in the public schools of New York City, Connecticut, California and St. Louis. She opened SLLIS in 2009 with the French and Spanish language immersion elementary charter schools. All schools in the SLLIS network will implement the International Baccalaureate curricular frameworks in addition to local and national achievement measures.
“Our curriculum meets all of the Missouri State standards and grade level expectations. What we do is layer on top of that the International Baccalaureate’s framework. Our students can go to any international baccalaureate school worldwide and have some continuity in terms of teacher expectations for their behavior, for the ways they approach their work and their problem solving techniques.” -Rhonda Broussard
In the near future, Broussard plans to open more schools. She states:
“Currently we operate ourFrench and Spanish schools and in 2012 we will open the Chinese and Japanese schools. These schools will follow the same model: Total language Immersion with the international Baccalaureate’s frameworks, but there all of the instruction; math science, music, art, PE, will be delivered in Mandarin in the Chinese and Japanese respectively. After we open these schools, our plan is to open our middle school programs so students can continue their secondary studies with us and eventually we plan to add German, Russian, Arabic and Farse. We are committed to giving our students as many niche opportunities in the St. Louis area as possible.”
SLLIS are the first schools in the state of Missouri to offer a total language curriculum with the international Baccalaureate primary years program frameworks. The programis offered to students in the city of St. Louis completely free of charge. Students eligible for the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) desegregation program in St. Louis County are also eligible to attend.
As to why Broussard decided to open her school in FPSE, she states:
“FPSE represents so much of the growth and opportunity in the city of St. Louis that it’s really a natural fit for SLLIS.”
For more information on the St. Louis Language Immersion Schools, please visit them on the web at http://www.sllis.org. You can also find them on Facebook, or call the office at 314.533.0975.