Each year, the Foreign Language Association of Georgia, FLAG, recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of World Languages. This year, Dr. Margaret McKenzie, director of Multilingual Services and Programs, was honored with the Leadership Award for her efforts in world languages and dual language immersion.
“It is truly an honor and a testament to the work of all APS world language and DLI (Dual Language Immersion) teachers and a district that continues to recognize the importance of world language and DLI for preparing our students for college, career, and life.” Dr. McKenzie said about the award.
FLAG remarked on its website that in the letters of support for Dr. McKenzie’s nomination, one teacher mentioned that “the defining moment” was when the pandemic started because Dr. McKenzie provided extensive “guidance and training during emergency remote instruction.”
The APS Department of Multilingual Services and Programs houses four major programs: ESOL, World Languages, Multilingual Services, and Dual Language Immersion.
Dual Language Immersion is available at six elementary schools and one middle school. The elementary schools are Benteen, Bolton, Rivers, Garden Hills, Morris Brandon, and Sarah Smith, where the program is available from Pre-K through 5th grade. Sutton Middle School houses the 6th grade dual immersion programs for middle school and next year, a seventh grade class will be added to accommodate the rising students in the program.
“Dual Language Immersion is a very exciting program at APS,” Dr. McKenzie said, adding that “learning another language is like superfood for the brain” because it helps the brain grow in ways that it would otherwise not. According to Dr. McKenzie, research has proven that multilingual people are better at multitasking and problem solving and that these are special skills that our APS students can benefit from now and in the future.
While the DLI program is in English and Spanish, there are eight languages available to students at APS schools through the World Languages Program. They are: American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish.
ESOL, which stands for English to Speakers of Other Languages, is a federally mandated program. It provides English language development instruction and language support services to identified K-12 English Learners to help them increase their English proficiency.
Multilingual Services provides translation and interpretation for APS families who speak another language other than English. For information or support with parent and community outreach events for APS multilingual or immigrant families, please contact Sally Luna, Multilingual Services supervisor, at APStranslations@atlanta.k12.ga.us, or visit the department’s website here.