In an innovative initiative, the district’s world language program connects high schoolers to their younger counterparts in Bayview, Manetuck, Oquenock and Bellew.
Senior students from the high school visit elementary classrooms once a week for 30 minutes to share Spanish, Italian or American Sign Language with the younger students. The seniors teach basic language concepts such as clothing, numbers, days of the week and items in a house, choosing a different category each week, mixed with seasonal activities and learning games.
“I had the same experience in elementary school and cherished it so much,” said senior Douglas Dillman, a member of West Islip’s International Baccalaureate program. “When I started learning foreign languages, I wanted to share so the younger students could take some of it and apply it.”
“The seniors do a great job,” said Manetuck fourth-grade teacher Mark Levine. “It gets my students excited about learning. It’s something new, and something the kids look forward to every week.”