Frequently Asked Questions About Innovation Institute and TWIN-CS
The Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education
1. What exactly is the Innovation Institute?
The Innovation Institute facilitates the design and delivery of educational innovations for study and adoption by nationally selected Catholic schools. The work of the Institute is directed by representatives of the co-sponsors Boston College and the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), and is supported by grants, sponsorships, and partnerships with scholars, key stakeholders in business and community leaders. This creative partnership ensures research and programming to provide game changing excellence in the field of Catholic education.
2. What is unique and different about the Innovation Institute?
The most unique component of the Innovation Institute is its intentional design to build upon existing collaboration among Catholic institutions of higher education, enabling the Institute to use and advance cutting edge educational initiatives by developed by university leaders. This is a distinct advantage to school leadership teams seeking assistance in the design and implementation of new programs. More importantly, programming is designed to advance the academic excellence for all students, who are the beneficiaries of the Institute's work.
3. How is the TWIN-CS Program a part of the Institute?
The TWIN-CS (Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools) is a distinctive academic program that is the first initiative of the Institute. Two-way immersion is nationally recognized as the most effective approach to bilingual education. TWIN-CS differs from the more traditional approaches to language instruction (i.e. World Language) in two key ways. First, it totally supports bilingualism and biliteracy for all students. Second, students are not separated by their native languages, nor taught separately, in their native languages. Instead, they are classmates and peer instructors, sharing their language models with each other and subsequently becoming bilingual together.
4. What made you decide to have TWIN-CS as your first initiative?
TWIN-CS was developed to meet the needs of the 21st century student, who must be prepared for a global society. This requires an intentional program that supports biliteracy and bilingualism. Also, Catholic schools are seeking new ways to serve the significantly underserved, culturally and linguistically, diverse students whose population is growing in every area of the country. Expanding educational opportunities for these students is seen as a natural progression for Catholic schools, building on our history of service and excellence. Some view this as a moral imperative for Catholic schools, as we are called to be academically accessible and excellent for all students. Correspondingly, it is a sound investment in the economic and social development of our local communities.
5. Why is the TWIN program limited to elementary schools?
The majority, 79%, of two-way immersion programs in the United States work at the K-5 level. The research indicates that these initiatives are most successful when they are introduced into the pre-kindergarten through kindergarten levels, and then expanded each year as the students step up to the next grade level.
6. What languages are going to be taught in the TWIN-CS program?
The majority, 93%, of two-way immersion programs in the United States are English-Spanish. Research on these programs tends to concentrate on elementary schools with large populations of Latino students. The TWIN-CS will host ten schools whose target languages are Spanish and English and two schools targeting Mandarin and English.
7. How many schools are part of the TWIN-CS Initiative?
Twelve schools have been selected to participate in the initial cohort and represent a cross section of diocesan, regional, and parish based schools.
8. Where are some of these schools located?
The cohort schools are located in ten different states from California and Washington to Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The states included are AZ, CA, MA, MD, MN, NY, RI, TX, WA, and WI.
9. How were schools selected for the TWIN-CS Initiative?
All selected schools needed to be recognized as Catholic schools by the local Bishop and serve grades K-3, with a diverse student population. At least one-third of the student population must speak the same non-English language. In addition, schools needed to demonstrate a commitment to two-way immersion, have vibrant learning communities, and demonstrate the capabilities necessary to initiate and sustain the systemic changes required for the implementation and delivery of the curriculum.
10. Do all of the teachers in a TWIN-CS school have to be bilingual?
No, not every teacher must be bilingual because instruction time is spent in each target language. It is preferred that over time the majority of teachers are bilingual.
11. Were a school's enrollment figures a factor in its selection for the TWIN-CS program?
Total enrollment is important, but not the deciding factor. Enrollment is a sign of the vitality, viability, and ultimately, the long-term sustainability of a school. Therefore, it is something that was looked at carefully when making selections for the TWIN-CS program.
12. Is it expensive for a school to participate in the TWIN-CS program?
School teams are expected to pay for their transportation to the summer academy and are responsible for the cost of the implementation in their individual schools. Additionally, there is a nominal fee that is paid by each school that helps defray the cost of the summer academy. Total costs for the design team, research, mentors, and support are provided by the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College, NCEA, and foundational grants.
13. What happens if a school cannot afford the expenses associated with the TWIN-CS program?
One of the considerations that a school made when preparing for application to the program is the inherent cost. Part of the training provided to the schools is a seminar on accessing funding for their program and assistance from mentors and coaches to secure alternative sources of funding. This may include information on using Title II funds, grant writing, or other potential fundraising avenues.
14. What happens to a school after the summer academy?
Following the summer academy, there will be on-going support from the faculty design team and trained mentors and coaches. Schools will participate in monthly webinars and professional workshops in collaboration with other schools from their cohort to ensure ongoing learning. Schools teams will be regularly helped to amend and enrich their designs and to continuously assess and improve their model. Most importantly, all TWIN schools will be part of a networked support system to encourage each other's success.
15. Will additional schools be added to the original 12 TWIN-CS schools?
Yes. Catholic schools that are currently operation successful TWI models will be invited to join the network. Also, as it matures and develops its own expertise, TWIN will look to recruit and welcome other schools that wish to pursue this opportunity.
16. Has there been any controversy over the implementation of the TWIN-CS Catholic schools?
I don't think controversy is the right word, but certainly there have been questions and concerns from parents and educators. In every case, the more people that learn about the benefits of the TWIN-CS models, the more accepting they become. Change is never easy, but good change is always worth the initial discomfort.
17. Why the partnership with Boston College?
Boston College and the NCEA have a long history of working together to create, promote, and sustain academic excellence at every level of Catholic education. Grounded in the Lynch School of Education, The Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College is one of the nation's premier centers for Catholic education. We are honored and privileged to be partners with them in this amazing venture.
18. Is there anything else you would like to share about TWIN-CS?
Yes. I would like to share with you some interesting date. While 50% of the people in the world are bilingual, only 10% of educated people in the United States can speak two languages. If a student can speak Spanish and English, he or she can communicate with 80% of the world. 30% of the jobs that will be held by this year's first graders have not yet been created. Central to being a global citizen and valuable to any future career, known or yet to be known, is fluency in more than one language and culture. And fortunately, for our young people, Catholic schools are uniquely positioned to adopt and integrate change more easily than schools bound to larger bureaucratic systems.