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Detroit Schools’ Bilingual Program Meets Spanish Speakers Halfway

Detroit— In the halls of the Academy of the Americas school, “Bienvenidos” and “Welcome” — greetings in Spanish and English — adorn classroom doors in colorful letters.

It’s part of a bilingual environment at the K-8 school in southwest Detroit and a reminder that most of its students come from homes in which Spanish is the primary language.

Statewide, of the 1.56 million public school students in Michigan, 6.8 percent, or 105,994, are Hispanic. At Detroit Public Schools, the proportion is nearly double, at 12 percent, up from 11.5 percent in 2012-13.

And this fall, to meet southwest Detroit’s growing Hispanic population, Detroit Public Schools is debuting a new high school that continues the bilingual tradition with a ninth-grade academy.