At DCIS at Fairmont we offer two language learning strands: one in English only and our Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program in Spanish. We believe biliteracy is a superpower and a backbone to what we mean by a multicultural and international learning approach. Our vision is that our bilingual and biliterate students think critically, expand their knowledge, and build confidence that empowers them to be leaders in their intercultural communities and the world.
There are endless benefits that come from a bilingual education! We know that bilingual students achieve improved English reading and critical thinking skills. In fact, studies show that on average, dual language students outperform their peers in English-reading skills by a full school year’s worth of learning by the end of middle school!
Dual language Immersion students also tend to have higher test scores, report to be happier in school, have better attendance and fewer behavioral problems. Parent involvement at dual language schools is also higher on average. Our language learners also demonstrate greater appreciation, tolerance and respect for people who speak other languages and come from different cultures.
The method of instruction is the 90:10 model of Two-Way Immersion. The majority of our curriculum is taught in a Spanish. Students in ECE, kindergarten and first
grade will receive about 90% of their daily instruction in a Spanish and 10% in English. Each year, students will receive more instruction in English as the percentage of a Spanish instruction time begins to decrease. By 5th grade students will receive 50% of their daily instruction in Spanish and 50% in English.
Percentages of Yearly Instruction:
|% Spanish Instruction||% English Instruction|
|ECE & Kindergarten||90%||10%|
|4th and 5th||50%||50%|
We aim for the composition of our DLI classrooms to be made up of about 50% Spanish speakers or bilingual students and 50% English speakers. The benefits to both types of learners is immense. Spanish speaking students are able to solidify their foundations in their native language and build language skills that the research shows transfer to their second (and 3rd and 4th!) language. English speaking students get an immersion experience that creates fluent readers, writers and speakers that the research shows out perform their monolingual counterparts by 5th grade.
Because of our model, we typically do not accept English-only speakers after the first grade. Students that are bilingual and biliterate (ability to read and comprehend in the first and second language) can enter the program at any time. Please note this on your School Choice application and we will complete a language assessment to determine eligibility.
We want families to know that a Dual Language Immersion program is often the only way to support your child’s bilingualism if your home is English-only. For all the reasons we listed above, we believe this is an incredible opportunity. And we want you to also know it doesn’t always come free of some hardships. In order to help you consider both the benefits and beauty as well as the difficulties of having your child move through our DLI program we have the following questions: