Dual Language Immersion Program

Dearborn Park Dragons Dearborn Park is the recipient of the 2014 Washington Achievement Award

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart."

‒ Nelson Mandela

Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, language immersion programs will be offered in kindergarten and 1st grades.

In future years, students entering grades 2 and above must demonstrate grade-level proficiency in the immersion language in order to participate in the Spanish/English or Mandarin/English dual language immersion program.

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Mandarin/Spanish/English Dual Language Immersion Program

The International School model focuses on:

  • Academic Excellence
  • Global Perspectives
  • World Languages
  • Technology
  • Partnerships
  • Innovative Teaching
  • Global/Cultural Competence

Our dual language immersion program includes both native English speakers and target language native speakers (Mandarin or Spanish). Academic instruction is delivered in both languages, developing bilingualism, biliteracy, and cross- cultural understanding.

A bilingual program is most effective when students stay in the program at least 5-6 years. Please think about making a commitment to keep your child in the program here at Dearborn Park International School throughout their elementary school career.

Class and teachers posing for photoStefanie Felix talking to a class

How does it work?

Students will have one English teacher and one Spanish or Mandarin teacher who will use only the target language. They will be in a class with a mix of English, Spanish or Mandarin and other language speakers.

So for your child, the daily schedule might look like this:

Time*: 9:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Subject: Reading/Writing & Social Studies
Language: English

Time*: 12:15 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Subject: Math & Science
Language: Spanish OR Mandarin

*Times are subject to change per District Transportation Plan.

Research shows that literacy skills transfer easily from one language to another, so students will have ample opportunities to develop literacy skills in the content areas in English as well. These subjects will be switched in Grades 2 and above.

Grades: 1-3
Subject: Language Arts, Math & Science, Global Perspective

Grades: 4-5
Subject: Language Arts, Math & Science, Global Perspective


Why participate?

Students in dual language programs:

  • Learn to read, write and speak well in both languages.
  • Do better in ALL subjects on standardized tests.
  • Learn to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
  • Have more job opportunities and better pay.
  • Develop pride in their own language and culture.

How do you enroll?

If you are interested in the program, please contact us to schedule a tour.

You can schedule a tour by calling the main office at 206-252-6930, or emailing Karen Lam at kelam@seattleschools.org.

Remember that you will still need to enroll for Dearborn Park International School through the standard district enrollment process.

We will do our best to honor your language preference but cannot guarantee placement in any particular program. We will contact you after your child has been assigned to Dearborn Park International School to discuss language options


Who can enroll?

Siblings and older students who wish to attend Dearborn Park International School may enroll through the regular district process, as space is available.

In 2014-2015, the language immersion programs will only be offered in kindergarten although older students may receive some other type of world language instruction.

In future years, students entering grades 2 and above will need to demonstrate grade-level proficiency in the immersion language in order to participate in the Spanish or Mandarin program.


What are the benefits of knowing a second language?1

In addition to developing a lifelong ability to communicate with more people, children may derive other benefits from early language instruction, including improved overall school performance and superior problem-solving skills. A second language also will provide a competitive advantage in the workforce by opening up additional job opportunities. The benefits to society are many. Americans fluent in other languages enhance our economic competitiveness abroad, improve global communication, and help maintain our political and security interests. At the domestic level, world language ability helps teachers, health care providers, law enforcement personnel, and others who work with non-English-speakers to do their jobs more effectively.


Why is it better for my children to learn a language in elementary school?1

Studies have shown—and experience has supported—that children who learn a language before the onset of adolescence are more likely to have native-like pronunciation—an important part of foreign-language proficiency. Experts attribute this tendency to physiological changes that occur in the maturing brain as a child enters puberty. Of course, the more time children can devote to learning any subject, the more competent they will become.


Will a second language interfere with my children’s English ability?1

In most cases, learning another language enhances a child’s English ability. Children can learn much about English by learning the structure of other languages. Common vocabulary also helps children learn the meaning of new words in English. Numerous studies have indicated that foreign language learners score as well as, or better than, comparison groups on achievement tests conducted in English.

1 Kathleen M. Marcos, "Learning A Second Language"

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