Spanish Immersion

 csd logo  Spanish Immersion Program

Dual Language Spanish Immersion is a district-wide, K-12, lottery enrolled program provided at Fairview and South Dover Elementary Schools.  During the 2018-19 school year the program expanded to grade 5 at William Henry Middle School and in 2021-22 will expand to serve our initial cohort of students at Central Middle School.  The Spanish Immersion Program will continue through to Dover High School with options for dual-enrollment with participating colleges. Students in the Spanish Immersion Program develop high levels of academic achievement in both the primary and secondary languages.  The program supports the cultivation of cross-cultural competencies needed in a multi-cultural society. Our immersion students access a rigorous, culturally inclusive education while gaining knowledge to become empowered agents of change in a global society.

What is the Spanish Immersion Program?
The Spanish Immersion Program is a district-wide program based at Fairview Elementary, South Dover Elementary and William Henry Middle School; all are structured using a traditional One-Way Immersion model with most of the students speaking English as their native language.

In the Spanish Immersion Program, the focus is on building proficiency – being able to use the language – not on teaching grammar and the students learn academic content through a second language and the students learn a second language by encountering and using the language in multiple meaningful contexts.

More than forty years of research consistently documents the power of immersion programs to help students attain high levels of second language proficiency. No other type of instruction, short of living in a second language environment, is as successful. Young children especially thrive in this type of learning environment where learning a new language comes as naturally as learning their first one.

What are the benefits of having my student enroll?
Students enrolled in the Spanish Immersion Program will reap academic, cognitive, economic and sociocultural benefits. The academic benefits include achieving high levels of language proficiency in the immersion language, satisfying the WL graduation requirement by the time they leave the eighth grade and, based on research, performing as well or better than their non-immersion peers on standardized tests of English and mathematics. The cognitive benefits include developing greater cognitive flexibility, demonstrating increased attention control, better memory and superior problem-solving skills as well as enhancing the understanding of his/her native language. The economic benefits include being better prepared for the global community and job markets where world language skills provide them with an economic advantage and having the opportunity to complete college–level coursework in languages while still in high school. The sociocultural benefits include
being more aware of and showing a more positive attitude towards different cultures and demonstrating a greater appreciation of people who have different cultural perspectives and practices.

Who can participate in the Spanish Immersion Program?
The Spanish Immersion Program is open to all rising kindergarten students and will be selected based on the following guidelines:

  • 48 students will be selected for each kindergarten Spanish Immersion Program at both Fairview and South Dover ES with a minimum of 30 students will be selected from the school’s attendance area and up to 18 students selected through the school choice process.
  • The cohort of students will generally reflect the demographics of Capital School District; therefore, students will be equitably chosen based on gender & ethnicity.
  • While the immersion program is open to all kindergarten students, academic screening will be utilized to determine students’ potential success in learning a second language and/or eligibility.

    How are kindergarten students selected for the Spanish Immersion Program?

Parents of incoming kindergarten students are invited to attend an informational meeting held at each school immersion site in the winter/ early spring where the Spanish Immersion Program is introduced. Application information is available that evening, as well as in the school offices and at the district office. If more students apply than the program can accommodate, a lottery is held for the available spots in the class.

How do I apply for a spot in the Spanish Immersion Program?
For students who do not live in the Capital School District or do not live in the attendance zone of the school in which they would like to attend, parents must register their rising kindergarteners into their home school and must complete an online School Choice application ( for either Fairview ES or South Dover ES and that school’s Immersion program. For students who live in the attendance zone of the school in which they would like to attend, parents must register at their home school and complete a “Spanish Immersion Program Lottery Application” found in the school’s main office.

What does the lottery entail?
If more students apply than the Spanish Immersion Program can accommodate, the curriculum office will hold a student selection lottery during the first week of May. The results will be forwarded to the Capital School District Board of Education for review at its May meeting and parents will be notified shortly afterwards. Students will be formally accepted in the Spanish Immersion Program once their parents or guardians sign the Family Commitment Form. Parents and guardians who do not sign the commitment form will relinquish their child’s eligibility and the student will be assigned to a typical kindergarten classroom and will be replaced with another student of similar demographics who expressed interest in the Spanish Immersion program. Students not selected through the lottery process will be placed on a waiting list.

What if my child is not selected for the Spanish Immersion Program, will s/he be at a disadvantage?
Across the state, Immersion Programs are limited in number and, unfortunately, there are usually more interested students than there are openings. While this is a wonderful opportunity for students to acquire a second language at an early age, the primary mission of the Capital School District is to ensure a quality education for all students. All students in the district will have the opportunity to learn a second language beginning in seventh grade at Central Middle School.

Is this a gifted program? Are students prescreened or can anyone apply?
The Spanish Immersion Program is not a gifted program and is open to any interested rising kindergarten student.

Will students with IEPs be considered for in the selection process?
Yes. The Spanish Immersion Program is open to any interested rising kindergarten student.
In the Spanish Immersion Program, what courses are taught in Spanish? In English? On a typical day in the Spanish Immersion Program in grades K – 5, half of the day is taught in Spanish and the other half is taught in English. During the Spanish half of the day, the students are taught Math (45 – 60 minutes), Science and/ or Social Studies (45 – 60 minutes) and Spanish literacy (30 – 45 minutes); during the English half of the day, the students are taught English Language Arts (120 minutes) and Math and Content Areas Reinforcement in English (20 – 30 minutes).

What curricula are taught in the Spanish Immersion Program?
Students in the Spanish Immersion Program will be taught using the same curricula as their peers in grades K – 5 and the same standards and performance expectations will be targeted.
What happens when the students in the Spanish Immersion Program reach middle school?
The Spanish Immersion Program runs from kindergarten through grade 8; currently, the Delaware Department of Education is developing the middle school model.

Who will be teaching in Spanish Immersion Program?
At each grade from Kindergarten to grade 5, the Spanish Immersion Program consists of certified teachers; a Spanish-speaking teacher and an English-speaking teacher. Some of the Spanish-speaking teachers will have been educated in our local universities and will have graduated with an elementary education and language degree. Others may be international guest teachers from other countries. These teachers have been hand-selected by their respective governments to come to Delaware to teach in our schools.

How is the Spanish Immersion Program funded?
The district funds the Spanish Immersion Program as it funds all classrooms, paying the salary of the teacher and providing classroom space. The Spanish Immersion Program receives the same funding for supplies, books and other materials as do other classrooms in the district. The Delaware Department of Education provides additional funds yearly to each school with a Spanish Immersion Program; currently, the amount is set at $10,000. These funds can be used to purchase textbooks, classroom supplies or other curricular needs.

How much do parents have to pay to be in this program?
The Spanish Immersion Program is FREE to all students. All materials, supplies, equipment, technology, etc. are FREE just as if your child were in other regular school programs. Field trips and other co-curricular academic/cultural opportunities may require that some fee be paid.

Is transportation provided for students in the Spanish Immersion Program?
The Capital School District will provide transportation only to those students who live in the attendance zone of the school in which they attend.

Who can I contact if I have further questions?
For more information, please contact Dr. Sylvia Henderson, Assistant Superintendent at 302-857-4223 or [email protected]





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