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Hearings set for new World Languages Academy
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GAINESVILLE — Public information hearings have been scheduled for the Hall County school system’s planned new World Languages Academy.

The hearings in English with Spanish translation available are set for:

  • 8-9 a.m. Jan. 17 at Chicopee Woods Elementary School;
  • 8-9 a.m. and 6-7 p.m. Jan. 24 at Martin Elementary School;
  • 6-7 p.m. Jan. 28 at Spout Springs Elementary School;
  • 9:30-10:30 a.m. Feb. 11 at Chestnut Mountain Elementary School; and
  • 6-7 p.m. Feb. 21 at school system offices, 711 Green St., Gainesville.

The hearings in Spanish with English translation available are set for:

  • 9:30-10:30 a.m. Jan. 31 at Jones Elementary School; and
  • 6-7 p.m. Jan. 31 at Lyman Hall Elementary School.

An English-only hearing is set for 6-7 p.m. and Spanish-only hearing 7-8 p.m. Jan. 17 at Chicopee Woods.

To be considered for enrollment, a parent or guardian must attend one of the sessions. And pre-enrollment in the academy can start as early as Jan. 17.

The school will replace Chestnut Mountain Elementary on Winder Highway in South Hall. Chestnut Mountain is moving in the fall to a new building off Union Church Road.

The World Languages Academy would feature a "dual-languages immersion" program featuring instruction of the state-required curriculum in two languages, English and Spanish, beginning with kindergarten and first grade.

Grade levels will be added each year until the dual-language program covers kindergarten through fifth grade.

Next year, though, students in second through fifth grades would receive Mandarin Chinese "and other rigorous exploratory classes," as well as some Spanish instruction, said David Moody, the district’s director of elementary schools. Moody will serve as the school’s principal in the first year.

Hall County schools is seeking charter status for the academy from the state Department of Education.

School officials hope the state Board of Education will decide on the charter at its March meeting.

All Hall County elementary students are eligible to attend the academy.

However, priority will be given to students in the Chestnut Mountain, Chicopee Woods, Friendship, Jones, Lyman Hall, Martin and Spout Springs elementary school districts.

Transportation will be provided to students from those schools.