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Frequently asked questions:

Q: What is a Dual Language program and how does it work?
     A: Dual Language immersion programs bring together native speakers in two different languages where each is immersed in a new or “target” language. Instruction is carefully designed and intentionally conducted in either English or Spanish. As a result both groups of students have the opportunity  to become literate and fluent in both languages.  The class is comprised of one third English speakers, one third Spanish speakers and one third bilingual speakers.

Q: What is a Two-Way 80/20 model?
     A: There are different models for dual  language programs. A two-way (bilingual) model uses a balance of two languages, in this case, native English speakers and native Spanish speakers. 80/20 refers to the percentage of the curriculum taught in Spanish and English; in this case, 80% of the day will be taught in Spanish including reading and writing.  The other 20% is taught in English.  The amount of English is increased each year.  
 K-2         80/20           
 Gr. 3       70/30             
 Gr. 4       60/40
 Gr. 5-6    50/50

Q: How do English-speakers specifically benefit from this program?
     A: English-speakers have the chance to acquire a new language in the early years when the brain is most receptive to new language acquisition. Most become highly proficient in the second language, typically far better than those who begin to learn a new language in high school or later in life. English-speakers also gain socially by making friendships across cultural, ethnic, and linguistic boundaries. 

Q: How do Spanish-speakers specifically benefit from this program?
     A: Spanish-speakers have the chance to learn academically in their native language. They can maintain their first language while learning a second as young students, when language acquisition is most effective.  The academic content and skills learned in Spanish do not need to be retaught in English.  As students progress through the grades they are also increasing their reading and writing in English

Q: Are dual language students integrated with other programs at school?
     A: Yes, except for the fact that their instruction is given in Spanish.  The academic  content, recesses and specialists are exactly the same as their peers.

Q: What is the criteria for students to be in a dual immersion program?
     A: Parent choice. Because this program relies so heavily on parent support, it is imperative that parents know exactly what will be expected of them, and that they are committed to be part of the program through 6th grade.  Parents understand that in order for their children to become fluent and literate in a second language takes a multi-year commitment-Although we can be efficient and intentional in our instruction, learning a second language does take time and work.

Q: Does it cost more to implement a dual immersion program?
     A: Not typically. After the initial costs of purchasing materials to get the program started, there is no additional cost to the district. The cost is reflective of the same expense to staff another English-only classroom.

Q: What happens in the classroom?
     A: Language is the vehicle for instruction in a dual language classroom. A visitor would not find a class conjugating verbs or memorizing prepared “dialogues.” Rather, one would see children using the language —speaking, reading, writing, adding, subtracting, experimenting— all in the target language, under the guidance of the teacher. The teachers follow the same curricula as the school’s English-only classrooms.

Q: Do I need to speak Spanish to be able to support my English-speaking child, or vice versa?
     A: No. But be prepared: when the classroom instruction is being delivered in Spanish and you walk in the room, the teacher will not speak to you in English in front of the children. This is what is meant by “immersion.” When the lesson is in Spanish, students will be in a 100% authentic language environment. Homework at the primary grades will all be in Spanish. Don’t worry, it’ll only be a matter of time before your 5 year old will be able to translate for you.  

Enrollment in the Dual Language Program includes a parent commitment to read 20-30 minutes daily in English with your child.