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Immersion Program Frequently Asked Questions

What is dual language immersion?

Dual Language Immersion is an educational model in which students develop high levels of speaking, reading, writing, and listening in English and Spanish. Teachers deliver the same core APS curriculum content and standards as traditional classroom teachers, while providing instruction in two languages.

What are the differences between the Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) and the Immersion Program?

In an immersion setting, students learn the core curriculum through the lens of an additional language. In a FLES class, the language itself is the subject of instruction and the focus is basic oral communication skills in Spanish. FLES students spend 60-90 minutes per week learning Spanish as a second language. In immersion, instructional time in Spanish is over 13 hours per week. Immersion students develop higher competency in Spanish because, in addition to learning Spanish through content, they receive daily Spanish Language Arts instruction.

Does APS offer dual language immersion at both the elementary and secondary levels?

Elementary Dual Language Immersion is offered at Claremont Immersion Elementary School and Francis Scott Key Elementary School. Students may continue Dual Language Immersion studies through middle and high school at Gunston Middle School and Wakefield High School.

What specialized training do Immersion teachers have?

Immersion classroom teachers are required to hold a Virginia teachers license in elementary education. At the secondary level, teachers are certified in the subject area they teach (Spanish, Social Studies, or Science).

How do I apply?

Incoming elementary school students may apply through the APS elementary option school admission process. The application window is from February 1 to April 15.

For middle and high school students interested in immersion, there are two options:

1) An Intent to Return Form must be completed for students already enrolled in APS immersion at the elementary level, or

2) A Proficiency Exam is required for students who are not already enrolled in the APS Elementary Dual Language Immersion Program. Those students will also need to show that they have participated in a comparable immersion program in another school division OR are proficient in Spanish language. Students who pass and meet required criteria can then submit an options school application for admission to the program.? ?

Learn more about the application process

Who is eligible to apply for the immersion program?

The immersion program is open to all students. Students interested in enrolling in the program need to complete the .

How do I determine which immersion school my child would attend?

Based on where you reside, your child would enroll in APS Dual Language Immersion at one of the elementary immersion schools. When you enter your address in the online Boundary (Attendance Zone) Locator, it lists the immersion school your child would attend based on your neighborhood elementary zone.

Are siblings of students currently enrolled in the program guaranteed a spot or given preference?

Yes, when completing the option application, families can indicate that they have a sibling currently enrolled in the program. Siblings of students currently enrolled in an elementary immersion program receive priority to allow siblings to attend the same school.

If my child is in the VPI program at an immersion school, do they receive priority when I apply to the program when they enter kindergarten?

Yes, students enrolled in the VPI program at an immersion school receive priority when applying for admission to the program when their child enters kindergarten.

Is it only for native English speakers?

This program benefits both Spanish speakers and non-Spanish speakers. Both groups benefit from the opportunity to become fluent in two languages, and to gain the proficiency and high levels of academic performance shown to result from immersion learning environments. All students learn a deeper understanding and appreciation for other cultures through dual language immersion, while learning the core APS curriculum.

If my child is a heritage Spanish speaker, will the program benefit them or delay their ability to learn English?

The program will benefit your Spanish speaking child while enhancing their ability to learn English. APS dual immersion classes are comprised of a balance of Spanish speakers and non-Spanish speakers. Students spend a portion of their day in a Spanish-language classroom learning math, Spanish, reading/writing, science and music or art, and the other portion of the day learning reading, writing, and other subjects in English. The students receive lessons from two teachers; one providing academic instruction in English, and the other providing academic instruction in Spanish.

If my child is not a heritage Spanish speaker, can my child apply after kindergarten? What are the options for immersion students in middle and high school?

A student may apply after kindergarten, but they will need to demonstrate that they have participated in a comparable immersion program in another school division OR are proficient in Spanish. Students who pass and meet required criteria can then submit an options school application for admission to the program.

What if my child has special needs?

Like all 鶹 schools, students in the Immersion program have the same access to special education services, programs for the gifted, and intervention and tutorial offerings.