Children playing with colorful blocks

JPS Dual Language Program

Dual language is a more effective way of teaching students two languages based on the fundamental premise that children learn a second language the same way they learn their first language. They learn in context where they are exposed to language in its natural form and when they are socially motivated to communicate. The target language is used as the medium of instruction rather than the content of instruction. This means that students acquire content-area knowledge and language skills together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Spanish Dual Language Programs in Jefferson Parish Schools are based on the three dual language pillars designed to promote bilingualism and biliteracy, academic student achievement, and social cultural competence.

There is a considerable body of research that outlines the benefits of dual language/immersion programs for students, including:

  • higher academic performance,
  • greater cognitive development in mental flexibility, creativity, and divergent thinking,
  • high levels of proficiency in the target language and in English,
  • positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors, and
  • enhanced career opportunities.

Dual Language Education for a Transformed World by Thomas & Cullier, 2012.

The two-way model balances the number of English Language Learners (ELLs) and non-English Language Learners (non-ELLs) in a classroom giving both groups the opportunity to learn each other’s language in a natural way. Research tells us that the most effective way to teach English Language Learners is in a two-way dual language program (Thomas & Cullier, 2010).

Beginning in Pre-K and K, students receive instruction in Spanish 90% of the day and 10% in English. As they move up to 1st grade and beyond, English increases 10% each year until a balance of 50%/50% between the Spanish and English language is reached in 4th grade.

Students in a Two-Way Immersion (TWI) dual language program may seem to fall behind in the first years as they acquire proficiency in the two languages, but research has demonstrated that by third grade the students are doing as well or better than their monolingual peers.

Children’s brains are wired to be able to understand multiple languages. Children are very sensitive and flexible to the way different people speak and therefore can learn a second language much easier than adults.

In order for children to receive the full benefits of participating in a dual language program, parents must make a commitment to allow their children time to acquire the target language over time. Social and academic language acquisition is a process that takes up to five or seven years.

Knowledge of Spanish or English by the parent is not a prerequisite for a child’s success in the program. Homework is given as a reinforcement of what has been done in class, therefore the child should be able to complete it independently.

The LDOE and Jefferson Parish School district expectations and requirements are the same for all JP students. The curriculum used in dual language classrooms align to the LDOE and district requirements and expectations.

Students receive Spanish language arts, math, science, and social studies in Spanish. In addition, they receive English language development or language arts and PE in English. As the students enter higher grades, more English subjects are provided creating a balance between the two languages and subjects. When students enter 4th grade and up, two subjects will be taught in English and two subjects will be taught in Spanish, in addition to receiving language arts in both languages.

Students will learn to read in Spanish first and slowly transition into English literacy beginning in 1st grade. Spanish literacy is easier to acquire, leading students to transition into English literacy faster.

  1. Determine if your attendance school zone offers dual language
  2. Attend a parent informational meeting and fill out an intent form
  3. Register at your attendance zone school and ask to place your child in dual language
  4. If your child is entering PK, follow the same application procedures required for PK registration and choose the option for dual language on the application.

Click here for more information on the JPS Dual Language Program