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A dual language program is designed to maximize the benefits of second language learning for student participants, based on the premise that the earlier a child is introduced to a language, the greater the likelihood that the child will become truly proficient.

Learning other languages encourages students to participate actively in a globally interdependent world. Second language study also prepares students for full participation in the international job market. California schools face rapidly changing demographics and seeking to leverage the linguistic capital that families and students possess. Students who participate in Dual Language Education programs will be able to develop skills throughout their K-12 experience that will serve them well in the local area, the nation, and Spanish-speaking countries.

There are four different Dual Language program designs that are additive bilingual programs:  (1) Heritage Language, (2) Developmental, (3) Two-Way Bilingual Immersion (TWBI), and (4) One-Way Immersion Programs.

Palo Alto Unified School District will adhere to the principles of the TWBI program model to offer both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking students the opportunity to develop high levels of literacy in two languages throughout their K-12 educational experience.

TWBI programs, also known as Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs, began in the United State during the 1960s and were based on well-researched French-English immersion models in Canada and successful Bilingual Maintenance Programs in the Southwest. Since the mid-1980s, the number of TWBI/DLI programs in the United States has grown to more than 850 programs.  As of February 2014, there were more than 350 programs in the State of California, 95% of which incorporate Spanish as the target language.

In order for any program to truly be considered a Two-Way Bilingual Immersion program, it must incorporate the following critical features:

1. The program provides instruction through two languages where the target language (Spanish in this case) is used for a significant portion of the students’ instructional day (from 50% to 90%).

2.  The program involves periods of instruction during which only one language is used, i.e., no translation or language mixing by classroom teachers.

3.  Approximately equal numbers of native Spanish Speakers (NSS) and native English Speakers (NES) are enrolled.

4. The students are integrated for most or all of the instructional day.



Other Dual Language Education Research


Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, Professor Emeritus, from San José State University

NY Times Article on Dual Language Programs speakers.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

California Department of Education

Center for Applied Linguistics