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SPUSD Offers Mandarin and Spanish Dual Language Immersion Programs

Learn the Benefits of Participating in a Dual Language Immersion Program

SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (December 19, 2023) – In the past decade, research has shown that learning a second language at a young age increases cognitive flexibility and translates into higher achievement across subject areas for students. Students who participate in dual language immersion programs demonstrate grade-level academic ability, well-developed language and literacy skills in two languages, and cross-cultural competence. Recognizing these studies and community interest in programs that teach children to read, write and speak a second language, South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) developed a dual language immersion program several years ago aligned to its strategic plan.

     For parents interested in learning more about the program, SPUSD created a general overview presentation that has been shared on the Dual Language Immersion (DI) Program webpage. After reviewing this presentation, interested parents may tune in to the question and answer webinar scheduled for Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. Parents may access the webinar from the link that will be posted on the Dual Language Immersion Program webpage.

     “The SPUSD Dual Language Immersion Program offers students a unique opportunity to become bilingual and biliterate at a young age,” said Associate Superintendent of Instructional Services Christiane Gervais. “Our elementary dual language immersion teachers and their partner teachers work collaboratively to provide grade level and standards-aligned content in both English and the target language.”
     Designed for children and parents who desire a proficiency in a language other than English, the classes expand world language experiences for young learners. The Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Program is designed for English learners and English speaking students and follows a 50/50 instructional model in kindergarten through grade five, which means that approximately 50% of the class is taught in the target language and 50% is taught in English. This model helps students excel in both an alphabet based language (English) and a language rooted in a logographic system (Mandarin), where symbols represent words.
     The Spanish classes start with a 90/10 instructional model, which means that in kindergarten approximately 90% of the class will be taught in Spanish and 10% will be taught in English. As students move up grades, the ratio of Spanish to English decreases. The Spanish language uses a similar alphabetic system to English so there is a more immediate transfer of information between languages.
     In both Mandarin and Spanish Dual Language Immersion Programs, English and target-language dominant students are purposefully intermixed to meet various goals including developing bilingual skills, meeting or exceeding state standards, and fostering an appreciation of world languages and cultures.
     Additional information, including registration procedures for the Spanish Dual Language Immersion Program at Monterey Hills Elementary and the Mandarin Dual Language Immersion Program at Marengo Elementary, are available on the Dual Language Immersion Program webpage. Parents are encouraged to review the presentation and attend the live webinar to determine their interest. 
About South Pasadena Unified School District
Established in 1886, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) serves approximately 4,800 students within five schools including three elementary schools, one middle school and one comprehensive high school in South Pasadena, California.  Nestled in the West San Gabriel Valley, SPUSD has earned a reputation for providing high quality public education, attracting families who value challenging academic programs and outstanding teachers. Consistently recognized for superior performance, SPUSD students earn honors at the local, state and national level. The District draws vital support from parents and community members through the South Pasadena Educational Foundation, local PTAs and booster clubs.
For more information, contact: South Pasadena Unified School District, Office of the Superintendent, [email protected].