Frequently Asked Questions

  • Frequently Asked Questions
    Q.  What is Dual Language Immersion (DLI)?
    A.  Dual Language Immersion programs provide an opportunity for students to develop their literacy skills in two languages: English and another world language, such as Spanish or Mandarin.  Through immersion, children are able to acquire the second language naturally as they learn academic content.  
    Q.  What are the goals of dual language immersion?
    A.  The goals of DLI are for students to become bilingual and biliterate, to attain high levels of academic achievement, and to be able to understand and appreciate other cultures. 
    Q.  What are the cognitive benefits of DLI?
    A.  Students in DLI programs demonstrate increased executive functioning.  Research indicates increased problem-solving skills; greater creativity and divergent thinking; better memory and attention; and increased verbal and spacial abilities.
    Q.  What schools have DLI programs?
    A.  Gavilan Peak School and Desert Sage Elementary school both have Mandarin Immersion programs.  Union Park School has a Spanish Immersion program. 
    Q.  What are the criteria to be accepted into the program?
    A.  The DLI program is open to everyone!  We believe that every child will benefit from dual language immersion.  Learning another language strengthens neuroplasticity in the brain, making this program valuable to students of all academic levels.
    Q.  How many students are accepted into the program? 
    A.  Since this is a special program, space is limited!  Approximately 50 students are accepted at each of our DLI elementary schools.  Spaces are filled on a first come, first served basis, so you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible!
    Q.  How much time is spent each day in Mandarin or Spanish?
    A.  In K-6, approximately 50% of the instructional day is spent in the partner language.  In grades 7-8, students will spend 33% of their day in partner language starting in 2023-2024.
    Q.  How many teachers will my child have 
    A.   Students in grades K-6 will have two main teachers: an English Language Arts teacher and an Immersion teacher.  In the morning, they will go to one teacher's class,  In the afternoon, they will go to the other teacher's class.  In addition, students will have special area teachers providing instruction in art, music, and P.E.
    Q.  In what subjects will students receive instruction in Mandarin or Spanish?
    A.  Students in grades K-5 will receive instruction in the partner language during Math and Science.  They also receive instruction in Mandarin Language Arts or Spanish Language Arts.  Please see the vertical articulation graphic for more information.
    Q.  Will my child still get instruction in English?
    A.  Yes.  Students will receive instruction in English for reading and writing in order to provide a strong foundation in their first language.  Teachers will also provide reinforcement in English of academic concepts and vocabulary for subjects taught in the partner language.
    Q.  How will my child understand the content if the teacher is speaking in a language they don't understand?
    A.  Our teachers are skilled at communicating in the partner language in a simplified way so that their students understand what they mean, even when they don't understand all the words and structures.  Teachers use a variety of strategies such as pictures, gestures, and manipulatives in order to promote comprehension and confidence.
    Q.  Won't my child fall behind in English or other core subjects?
    A.  No. It is amazing what our brains can do when we are children!  Students in dual language immersion programs perform just as well on state assessments as students in traditional classes.  In fact, many studies have demonstrated that DLI students actually outperform their monolingual peers!   In particular, DLI students tend to demonstrate greater achievement in vocabulary and reading comprehension.
    Q.  When can my child enter the DLI program?
    A.  The younger children start, the better!  At DVUSD, students can start an immersion program in kindergarten.  
    Q.   When is the latest my child can enter the DLI program?
    A.   Students are strongly encouraged to enter the program in kindergarten or first grade.   However, older students may enter the program if they have prior experience with the language.  If students do not have a prior experience, parents/guardians may request late entry into the program on a trial basis.
    Q.  Do I need to speak Mandarin or Spanish in order for my child to be in the program?
    A.  No.  In fact, most of our parents do not speak the language.  Teachers will provide support and create language-rich environment at school in which your child can acquire the partner language.   At home, you can help by providing your child with a language-rich environment in English.  
    Q.  What else can I do to support my child?
    A.  Read to your child in English for at least 20 minutes a day.  Literacy skills are transferrable across languages.  Anything you do to support literacy development at home will help them acquire the partner language!
    Q.  What if my child struggles in immersion? 
    A.    Being in the immersion program is a long-term commitment as it takes several years to acquire a language.  However, we are committed to helping your child succeed!  We encourage parents to be patient and trust the model.  Please discuss any concerns you may have with your child's teachers, and we will develop an intervention plan to support your child and monitor his/her progress.