The integration of language immersion and general education best practices, HudsonWay Immersion School focuses on four pillars of student development: academic excellence, second language proficiency, cultural competence, and social-emotional learning.
Students explore themed units of study which challenge them to problem solve and think critically. Frequent assessments and flexible grouping enable us to individualize instruction and thus maximize student learning. Using the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) standardized test given in English, our students outperform national norms for independent and gifted and talented public school students in nearly all subjects in all grades.
Second Language Proficiency
Our full immersion program, starting with 100% of the instruction in the 2s program and 90% of instruction in the 3s and 4s program in the target language, enables students to have a strong immersion foundation prior to kindergarten. This structure ensures that students are ready to learn academic content in both languages.
Our Kindergarten-1st Grade program provides 80% of the instruction taught in the target languages gradually increasing the English to 40% by 5th grade. By middle school, 45% of the time is spent in each target language and English. We also introduce a third language each day for 30 minutes beginning in grade 4.
Through an in-depth understanding of another language, our uniquely developed world curriculum, and daily exposure to our global staff, students see the world differently. We supplement this experience with cultural presentations such as our annual Chinese New Year performances, Spanish Winter Show, and global travel where our students partake in rich immersive experiences in China or Spain.
Social Emotional Learning
At HWIS, we believe that character development is as important as academics. The caring and positive approach used in classroom management and discipline is based on the premise that all interactions between adults and children must reflect a deep respect for the children as well as promote respect for themselves and others. We use the school-wide disciplinary system—Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports and conflict resolution.
At HudsonWay Immersion School, we maintain a low student-to-teacher ratio that averages 6:1 to ensure children and families receive the individual attention and support they need. We recognize that the language immersion environment is challenging, and our academic approach is to meet students where they are and ensure they remain challenged and engaged throughout the school day. Approximately 80% of HWIS families do not speak the target language at home; therefore, our ability to provide individualized attention is paramount to student academic success in our programs and differentiates our program.
By the numbers, HudsonWay student outcomes are remarkable. For example, on average, our students score in the 92nd median percentile for language arts and math. In addition, bilingualism improves children's cognitive ability, and 100% of students that have been at HudsonWay for 4+ years perform above average or gifted on IQ tests. The combination of a rigorous academic curriculum and our unique full immersion environment offered at HWIS underpins the continued academic success for our students.
The Bilingual Brain
This wonderful TED-Ed, The Benefits of a Bilingual Brain, outlines the significant, cognitive benefits of bilingualism. It's why HudsonWay is so passionate about language immersion education. The bilingual brain:
• has a higher density of gray matter
• is more active in certain regions
• is comparatively stronger than the monolingual brain in the area that controls executive function
• is healthier and more engaged
More importantly, the critical period hypothesis explains that children can use both brain hemispheres in language acquisition whereas for adults, the learning is lateralized to only the left hemisphere. As a result, people that learn languages as children have a more holistic grasp of its social and emotional contexts.