By the time students leave Jefferson Elementary, they will have learned Spanish in the second grade, French in the third grade, Mandarin in the fourth grade and German in fifth grade.
One parent, Ellie Ruane made this possible by donating an online computer-based program called Rosetta Stone, where students can learn a new language at their own pace. Ruane is the mother of Jefferson Elementary school principal Chad Lund. "The school was not in financial state to buy this program," explained Lund. Ruane made a generous donation to cover the $13,000 program and $3,000 headsets that students use along with the program.
Jefferson's World Language Program is comprised of Rosetta Stone, application of the language, a cultural component, and a parent component.
"Students work with the Rosetta Stone program throughout the week at school, as well as at home if they have the appropriate means (a computer, headset, and internet connection), and gain vital vocabulary and solid language base. Then we will have a native speaker (community member or parent) come in and work with the students on what they have learned and are then able to apply the language," said Lund.
In addition, the Rosetta Stone program has been offered to any parents who wants to learn English. Jefferson Elementary has 585 students and about half are Hispanic. "We currently have 30 parents who use the program after school," said Lund.
Students who are still learning English also have access to the Rosetta Stone English program.