DLI Program at Community Park Elementary School

In the Dual Language Immersion program at Community Park Elementary School, students in kindergarten through 5th grade spend approximately 50 percent of their day learning in Spanish and the other 50 percent learning in English. This means every DLI student has two main teachers, one for English instruction and one for Spanish.

This 50-50 model allows students to maintain proficiency in their native language while adding a second language. Research has shown that this model is highly successful at teaching grade-level content while developing in students impressive levels of language proficiency. In our DLI program, students learn math and science (including the weekly science lab) in Spanish, and language arts and social studies in English. Specials, such as physical education, music, or library, are taught in English. 

Compelling research from the past 30 years shows that DLI programs can produce important benefits for all students including:

  • Enhanced Cognitive Skills as students typically develop greater cognitive flexibility and demonstrate increased attention control, better memory, and superior problem solving skills.

  • Improved Academic Performance as students perform as well as or better than non-immersion students on standardized tests of English and mathematics.

  • Minimizing of the Achievement Gap as students respond to the cognitive demands of learning content in two different languages they develop enhanced cognitive skills that benefit them throughout their K-12 academic experience.

  • Higher Second Language Proficiency as students achieve higher levels of second language proficiency they graduate from high school “bilingual” and “bi-literate”.

  • Enhanced Global Citizenship as students are better prepared to collaborate, communicate and problem solve across linguistic and political boundaries. They also exhibit more positive attitudes toward other peoples and other culture. 

Registration and Lottery

When a family registers for kindergarten at Community Park Elementary School, they will receive information about the DLI program. Students do not need to have any knowledge of Spanish before to starting the program in kindergarten. If there are more applicants for the DLI program than there are spots available, a lottery drawing will be held. 

If a student in an older grade level is transferring from another DLI program or speaks Spanish proficiently, they may be able to enroll in the DLI program if there are spots available.  


CP holds monthly meetings called Charlas for all parents and all grade levels whose children are in traditional and/or DLI classrooms. Both English and Spanish are spoken at Charlas. A “charla” is a conversation with a set topic.  Most Charlas will take place from 8:45-9:30 AM in the CP all-purpose room. Please feel free to join late or leave early as your schedule allows.

Thursday, Oct. 12: Character Education

Wednesday, Nov. 15 (6:00 PM): Topic TBD

Thursday, Dec. 14: Supporting Your Child's Learning Outside of School

Wednesday & Thursday, Jan. 17 & 18: Classroom Visits (*details to follow)

Thursday, Feb. 8: Grade Level Groups: Meet with other parents in your child's grade and debrief the January classroom visits

Thursday, March 8: Topic TBD

Wednesday, April 18: Topic TBD

Thursday, May 17: Making the Most out of Summer

Wednesday, June 6: Year in Review

**Dates may change, please check the calendar on the front page of the CP website for the most up-to-date information.



Why did the district choose Spanish for the DLI program?

With over 330 million speaker globally, Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and is the official language of 44 countries. Spanish is a good springboard for learning other Romance languages, including Portuguese, Italian, and French, with little difficulty. Locally, we have district staff and community members who speak Spanish; and our math program, Everyday Math, already has a Spanish version.

How does the 50-50 model work?

In our 50-50 model, English speakers, native speakers of Spanish and bilingual speakers learn alongside each other. Two teachers share the teaching responsibility for all the subjects in the curriculum. At least 50% of the core academic instruction will take place in Spanish language.

The Spanish-speaking teacher will speak only in Spanish and communicate using a range of engaging strategies including pictures, songs, games, body language, expressions, drama and pantomime. Children at this age are skilled at picking up language in meaningful contexts. Shortly after the start of the school year, students will also speak only in Spanish during the Spanish days and only in English during English class. At the completion of elementary school students will be on their way to becoming bi-literate and bilingual in Spanish and English.

What kind of parent-family commitment is expected?

The willingness to commit to long-term participation in the DLI program is essential. Parents must commit to participating in the program through 5th grade. Parents should take advantage of the opportunities to learn about DLI education by attending parent meetings, such as the regularly scheduled Charlas. 

How do I best support my child in learning a new language?

We will provide information for parents throughout the program from Kindergarten through 5th grade. In general, research shows that you can support the process by:

  • Being patient and supportive since it may take time for your child to feel comfortable in a classroom where a new language is being spoken
  • Joining this exciting journey by learning some Spanish or English yourself
  • Reading with your child in their native language for 20-30 minutes daily
  • Encouraging your child to practice their languages skills with native speakers in the community  


Dineen Gruchacz, Community Park Principal

Priscilla Russel, District Supervisor of World Languages, ESL/Bilingual and Dual Language Immersion Programs
609.806.4280 x 3252