ChattAcademy to be first dual immersion school for middle, high schoolers

FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2016 photo, bilingual teacher Abraham Robledo labels items in his classroom for his first graders at James S. Hogg Elementary School in Dallas. While Californians passed a ballot measure to bring back bilingual education in the upcoming school year, educators say a challenge to getting the programs started will be getting more bilingual teachers. Nearly two decades after banning most bilingual education, Californians voted in November to let schools restore it for English learners and English speakers whose parents want them to learn Spanish, Mandarin and other languages to complete globally for jobs. (David Woo/The Dallas Morning News via AP, File)

When ChattAcademy Community School opens its doors in 2023, its organizers say, it will be the first school in East Tennessee with a Spanish/English dual immersion curriculum for middle and high school students.

"What is unique about our model is that there aren't many models like ours that start in middle school, so we're excited to be on the cutting edge around that curriculum and model creation," founder Nolan McDaniel said in an email.

McDaniel also serves as a fellow for BES Inc., a Boston-based organization that provides resources and support to develop and maintain charter schools.

A dual immersion school offers native speakers of two different languages, often Spanish and English, a chance to study in the same classroom.

"In a two-way model, your student body is 50/50: 50% of them are native speakers in one language, 50% are native speakers of a different language Those two groups are simultaneously learning the opposite language to get to a place of bilingualism where they can take courses in both languages in an integrated way," McDaniel said.