This decision was based partially on the commitment of the HWIS community – many parents who were the earliest adopters of immersion education in the NYC/NJ area. But also, on the thought that middle schoolers need continued exposure to reap the true benefits of the 21st century skills they are developing. This article describes the second surge of neuronal growth before puberty and how immersion in middle school enables teenagers to hone their use of rich vocabulary and take part in debates and collaboration—all in a second language.
“Calculating hours alone, in an early total immersion model, where students are 90 percent in the target language in grades K-2, 80 percent in the target language in grades 3-5, and 50 percent in the target language in grades 6-8, this results in students spending about 7,500 hours in the target language in grades K-8. This gets close to the 10,000 hours but not all the way there. If students stop in 5th grade, they only have about 5,500 hours under their belt and a matching vocabulary to boot.” — Camilla Modesitt, Education Week