Sarasota County dual language charter school set to open in August

Dreamers School

SARASOTA (WWSB) -The Sarasota County School Board has finalized plans for a new charter school they’re calling Dreamers Academy.

It will be a dual-language school where students will learn in both English and Spanish. The school will be kindergarten through fifth grade and open to both English and Spanish speaking students.

When students start out in kindergarten they are mainly taught in their native language and spend some time learning in their second language. Each year they are taught more in the second language, and by third grade they should be biliterate and bilingual.

All School Board members were on board with the plans for this charter school except one. School Board members for it say it will help keep up with the growing Hispanic population in Sarasota County and help Spanish speaking students succeed in school.

However, school board member Eric Robinson says he worries that this wouldn't help Spanish speaking students once they have to go to an only English speaking school in sixth grade, worrying that they'd still fall behind.

But a founding board member of the academy said it's been proven to work.

"All of the longitudinal studies are pointing to the fact that academically, these kids are finishing fifth grade seven months ahead of their monolingual peers. And I'm talking science, math, social studies. Language is the base of all learning and when you can become literate in more than one language, that is an incredible advantage that everybody should take advantage of," said Founding Board Member, Geri Chaffe.

The Dreamers Academy is still looking for a location to rent out, but they plan on opening this August.

The school is now accepting student applications.

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