The Amistad Dual Language School is a school of choice that serves the communities of Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, and Inwood. We offer a dual language immersion program for both English and Spanish dominant students. Our program is dedicated to the acquisition of language within a rich academic environment. We embrace a multidisciplinary instructional approach in the arts by offering a comprehensive program in music, dance, visual and theater arts. Amistad is committed to intellectual achievement, language proficiency, experiential and project based learning and nurturing of creativity. Our mission statement is as follows:
The Amistad Dual Language School is a community of learners that embraces the unique path of each individual. Together we foster a sense of communal responsibility and solidarity through the celebration of culture, language, and diversity. Our children will move forward, ready to meet the academic and the social demands of the larger community, taking with them the magic of discovery and the power of two languages.
Our language allocation policy varies by grade to accommodate both conversational and academic language acquisition. In Kindergarten and first grade we follow an alternating day model. Students are instructed in Spanish on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and in English on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In second grade through fifth grade we use an alternating half-day model so that students are equally exposed to all content areas in both languages. In the half day model, students receive instruction in one language in the morning and another language in the afternoon. Cycles vary according to grade level. In second grade we use a one-week cycle. In third grade we use a two week cycle. In fourth through fifth grade the cycle varies from three to four weeks depending on units of study. In the middle grades 6th, 7th, and 8th, the language distribution in the Humanities and Sciences changes to a whole day with alternating two week cycles (two weeks in English & two weeks in Spanish).
The curriculum in Amistad is aligned with State Standards. We use block programming and a workshop model to scaffold and frame both our balanced literacy instruction and our constructivist mathematics instruction. The Social Studies and the Science curriculum is also taught via the workshop model to heighten critical thinking, inquiry skills and focused class discussions. We infuse reading and writing into all core subjects to strengthen comprehension.
The Visual and Performing arts programs are infused with literacy, social science and mathematical concepts. Our students explore and enhance their creative abilities by performing and writing music, choreographing dance movements and producing visual arts pieces. Art projects are exhibited throughout the school and we have several dance / music / theater performances throughout the year. In February we have a full scale musical production and in June we celebrate the arts with a dedicated day for performance and gallery exhibits.
Parental involvement is an essential component of our school. Parents participate in the governance of the school through SLT meetings and they support our instructional programs via fundraising and partnering in classroom projects, all of which contribute to the caliber and success of the school.
Amistad has also developed relationships with educational and artistic institutions to broaden opportunities for our students and to explore a range of professional development possibilities for our teachers.