Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools
The Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools (TWIN-CS) is an initiative of the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College. This initiative, grounded in the research and leadership of Boston College faculty and other university researchers from around the country, implements and assesses models of dual-language immersion in Catholic school classrooms around the United States. The TWIN-CS network is composed of principals, teachers, field mentors, parents, board members, and other Catholic school leaders across the country.
The Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools (TWIN-CS) advances the Catholic tradition of academic excellence by empowering Catholic schools to systemically transform from a monolingual to multilingual educational model in the service of vibrant culturally diverse populations, with fidelity to the mission of Catholic education.
As the United States continues to grow more diverse culturally and linguistically, there is heightened awareness of the needs of our various communities. This is particularly true within Catholic schools, which have experienced a great deal of growth linguistically and ethnically in recent years. Many of these students require support financially as well, despite limited resources in the schools themselves.
The Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools (TWIN-CS) is unique in its approach to dual language instruction. Building upon the long-successful tradition of language instruction in Catholic schools, the TWIN-CS (or ‘the Network’) is a national initiative to share research, ideas, techniques, and resources to enable some of the most socially and economically challenged students to become bilingual and biliterate. This deliberate, intentional, and dynamic incorporation of twelve Catholic elementary schools from across the United States was forged into practice during the 2013 Summer Academy held in Massachusetts.
While two-way immersion and dual language instruction has been utilized in a number of educational settings for many years, the Network provides an innovative manner of supporting teachers and schools to enhance student achievement. Participation in the Network requires a great deal of input from the schools, while providing extensive support from university researchers and TWIN experts. It is this creative structure of the Network that helps the schools achieve success.
Additionally, the Network's schools have been provided a number of resources to aide them in transitioning to, or strengthening, their two-way immersion instruction. TWIN-CS schools are provided with consultation services from university researchers and experts on site throughout the academic year. From professional mentors for each school to a secure social media website for participants to discuss their experiences, as well as book club webinars and norm-referenced assessments for all students, the Network schools benefit greatly by learning from each other.
TWIN-CS began in January 2013 with a cohort of 12 schools across 11 states; 10 were building Spanish-English programs, one Mandarin-English, and one both Spanish-English and Mandarin-English. Today, membership includes 17 full member schools, 1 advanced school and 8 study schools, despite changes in parish/school leadership.
The Network promotes continuous professional development, critical partnerships with scholars and practitioners, and data collection and research. Training is provided through the TWIN-CS Academy, webinars, coaching, and networking and individual consultations. Participating schools report a continuous increase in enrollment, with schools in Maryland and Texas boasting a 30% increase while the first Los Angeles School has exceeded a 60% increase. The majority of students (63%) report Spanish as a first language, and early analysis of different data sets suggests positive growth in learning outcomes.