South Language Academy of International Languages is a public K-8 magnet school in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District, the second largest school district in the state. SAIL offers students the unique opportunity to become proficient and literate in a second language. Second language immersion instruction is offered in the elementary school in Chinese, French, German, and Japanese.
From their first days in Kindergarten to the day they complete the program in grade 8, students are immersed in their target languages. This produces students who are proficient in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in a second language. In the elementary school, these intensive language programs are taught in the target language for the majority of the instructional day.
As a public school in North Carolina, the immersion instruction at SAIL strictly adheres to the Common Core State Standards and the Essential Standards for Science and Social Studies as the guiding curriculum for planning, instruction, assessments, and data collection. The program complies with educational mandates formulated by State and Federal regulations to the fullest extent.
We understand that language immersion is an evolving concept in an ever-changing educational setting, driven by a dynamic immersion research platform on the one side and accountability mandates on the other side. The advantages of language, cognitive, and social learning aspects in an immersion learning environment over traditional school concepts are consistently evident in the research.
Language immersion in North Carolina has evolved over many years with currently more than 100 schools. SAIL, the second such program in North Carolina has been one of the finest examples and highest models of best practices of immersion teaching for many other immersion programs and universities in North Carolina, the United States, and internationally. The school was honored in 2012 with the Melba D. Woodruff Award as an Exemplary Elementary Foreign Language Program. The award was sponsored by ACTFL (American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages) in collaboration with the Wright Group/McGraw. SAIL has also consistently been recognized as one of the top magnet schools in the state.
The Language Immersion Philosophy at our school follows four immersion-related goals:
- to achieve proficiency in the target language (listening, speaking, reading, and writing),
- to acquire comparable English Language Arts skills as peers in traditional schools,
- to reach cultural competency in surface features and deep features of cultural perspectives, practices, and products,
- to gain mastery in content areas compared to peers instructed in traditional school.
SAIL offers K-5 students the chance to participate in full language immersion programs in one of four languages: Chinese, French, German or Japanese. (Spanish K-8 immersion programs are offered at Collinswood Language Academy and Oaklawn Language Academy.) Students are admitted to the program in Kindergarten and are chosen through the magnet school lottery. Students who possess advanced second language skills have the opportunity to be assessed by our teachers and may enter the immersion program at any grade level, acceptance is contingent upon space availability in the desired program.
At the middle school level, SAIL allows for students to continue to study their second language and provides the opportunity to begin an accelerated course of study in a third language. Seats are available for incoming 6th grade students who are eager to learn a new language but have no prior language immersion experience. In addition to the languages offered in the elementary immersion program, students may elect to take Spanish in middle school. Middle school students can also choose from a wide range of traditional elective courses, as well as electives that emphasize the different languages and cultures. Middle school students also have the opportunity to participate in the same sports and extra-curricular activities available to all CMS students.
For more information about the individual languages, please see these pages: