By Richard Bammer
His voice booming through a loudspeaker system, the leader of the Markham Avenue campus greeted 880 students sharply at 8:40 a.m. Thursday.
In English and Spanish, he said “Welcome,” and “Bienvenidos,” with the words ringing over a sunny playground where teachers, parents and the children gathered.
His use of the two languages was no surprise, as Markham, a school with a majority of Spanish-speaking and low-income students, is widely known locally for having a popular dual-language immersion program, SPICE (for Spanish Peer Immersion Cultural Education). Twenty of the school’s 34 teachers participate in the program, in grades K-6, which requires students to speak, read and write mostly Spanish in the lower elementary grades and with English-Spanish instruction split evenly in the upper grades.