Principal Tracy Vik and a few of her 599 students enrolled in the highly-acclaimed Sioux Falls K-5 Spanish immersion school presented at the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls, Monday, November 14. They explained a typical day at the Sioux Falls School District’s newest school, Sonia Sotomayor Elementary, named for the first US Supreme Court justice with Hispanic heritage. The presentation explored the nine-year history of the innovative program, plus the benefits and relevancy of bilingual education to equip children to live and thrive in a multicultural society.

Program Highlights
  • The program started in 2008 at Rosa Parks Elementary, then expanded to Robert Frost. 
  • The Sonia Sotomayor Elementary School was built in 2016 and has 599 students, preschool through 5th grade.  There are 57 staff from 18 countries.
  • The tutors are 21-29 in age from the 18 countries, live with a host family and are here for 10 months.
  • Statistics have shown that these bilingual students have enhanced brain skills, writing skills, and are proficient in science.
  • There are 23 million jobs in the US that require multi languages.
Next Week’s Program:
Chris Semrau, Premier Center—Booking the Premier Center/A look into programming SD’s premier venue                   
November 14th, 2016 attendance:
  • Meeting attendance was 82 out of 307 or 27%
  • 54 out of 82 Rotarians present were Paul Harris Fellows or 66%
  • Also at the meeting were:  12 Guests; 1 Roaming Rotarian; 2 Junior Rotarians; 1 Visiting Rotarian; 1 news media person