No podrás nadar hacia nuevos horizontes si no tienes el valor de perder de vista la costa. -- William Faulkner

We inspire and guide students in language acquisition by creating engaging, compelling settings where language is acquired naturally.  --Melissa Newell

All students acquire language at different rates and have different needs at different times in order to have natural language acquisition occur.

In Van Meter’s K-12 program, students are evaluated and placed according to their proficiency in reading, listening, writing and speaking.  The goal is to have students naturally place into a class at their level of proficiency in grades 9-12.  


Careful evaluation is considered in the placement of each student.  Placements are considered based on performance on in-class evaluations throughout the year, student effort, teacher observations, and in some classes, end of the year placement exams.  Students placing into the novice level will be able to reinforce what they have previously been exposed to in Spanish within a new context using different materials. What works well with Comprehensible Input is that when we have a class of novice-mid students, students who are novice can also acquire language in the same class at their own pace without falling behind.  Students who are at the novice-mid range, acquire more language in the same setting. 


Attached is a proficiency rubric of what a student can produce according to: Novice-High/Intermediate-Low, Intermediate-High/Advanced-Low, and Novice/Novice-Mid.


As a K-12 school, our schedule gives us the flexibility to further meet our students’ needs.  As our program continues to develop, we anticipate movement according to proficiency in skills rather than grade level placement.   


If students would like to make more progress or would like to reinforce current skills, we have begun to develop and online opportunity they can utilize consistently through the summer (or at any time during the year) and take a placement exam at the end of the summer.  More details can be provided by contacting:  

"For optimal language acquisition and literacy development, input should not only be interesting, it should be compelling, so interesting that you are not aware what language it is in, so interesting that that you are in a state of "flow": the concerns of everyday life and even your sense of self disappears - your sense of time is altered and nothing but message matters.  Compelling input appears to eliminate the need for motivation, a conscious desire to improve. When you get compelling comprehensible input, you acquire whether you are interested in improving or not." 

--Stephen Krashen, Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California

¡Hola!  ¡Estoy super emocionada!  I am super excited to begin this new year at Van Meter Schools!  We have had a great start and students are already impressing me with how quickly they are acquiring Spanish.  I will regularly post resources to my page, so please check frequently for updates.  

In the natural process of acquiring language in my classroom, students will be exposed to many repetitions of a small amount of vocabulary.  They will first recognize the words in Spanish and begin to be able to translate to English.  As the year progresses and as they are exposed to more repetitions of the vocabulary structures, they will begin to be able to produce the vocabulary structures in Spanish.  

Vocabulary structures will be posted in the links on the left of this page.  Click to view and review.  I hope to post videos of the lessons for students to watch again and again, especially if they were absent.  They more they watch it, the more and more quickly they acquire language.  

¡Hasta pronto!

Señora Newell

How am I going to acquire Spanish this year?  

TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) is a research-based approach to teaching language and is founded on the premise that Comprehensible Input (CI) is the single most critical element for language acquisition to occur. 

TPRS focuses on developing fluency by providing a continuous flow of compelling contextualized COMPREHENSIBLE input (CCCI) through powerful questioning techniques, engaging story-based activities, and extensive level-appropriate reading. Other CI-based activities, such as songs, videos/movie shorts, social media and audio/video-centered technology, are also incorporated into instruction to satisfy the brain’s need for novelty and to initiate emotional engagement. Lessons are personalized and student-centered and strategically focused on useful high-frequency words and phrases that are highly likely to result in REAL communication. 

Regardless of ‘perceived’ ability levels, the end goal is to achieve ‘time-lapsed’ acquisition by creating a ‘hybrid’ immersion experience that eliminates INcomprehensible input and alternatively provides a constant flow of engaging CI that naturally facilitates continuous interaction in the Target Language and ultimately results in FLUENCY!  

-- Carol Gaab

Why am I learning Spanish differently from the way my friends do in other schools?