Dual Language Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who can apply to this program?

The Watertown Unified School District offers a two-way dual language program and is open to all students in grades 4k-1st grade. After 1st grade, students are admitted into the program if they were previously enrolled in another dual language program or they are native Spanish speakers with literacy skills in Spanish. 

What is a two-way dual language program?

A two-way program has a classroom made up of half native Spanish speaking students and half native English speaking students. This model provides our students with language models in both languages. Students are able to receive instruction in their native language while developing their language skills in their second language through academic content. Our students truly work together as models for one another!

How are learners selected to participate in this program?

With the high interest in our program, a lottery is completed each year. Students who are not placed in the program from the lottery will be placed on a waitlist. 

If my student is placed on a waitlist, what is the procedure for notification?

If your student is placed on a waitlist, the building principal will notify you via phone or email that there is an opening in the program. If it is prior to the beginning of the school year, the program/building will be changed for the student. Changes may also occur at the end of a school year or semester. 

If my student has a sibling in the program, will they be given priority for selection?

Yes, there are special considerations  if siblings are currently enrolled in the dual language program.

How will I know if my child is making progress in English and Spanish?

Students are assessed formally three times per year at the elementary level in both languages in reading. Students are also given a Spanish language acquisition assessment once per year in grades 2-9. Additionally, students are monitored in both languages through the WIDA English Language Development standards and the Spanish Language Development standards, which are embedded in the curriculum. 

How do dual language student achievement levels compare to their peers who are receiving English-only instruction?

Research on Dual Language Education suggests that students who participate in dual language instruction outperform their monolingual peers on state and national tests. 

What does dual language look like at the elementary level?

At the K-5 level, 50% of the instructional minutes are rigorous Spanish instruction through literacy and content, and 50% of the instructional minutes are rigorous English instruction through literacy and content. 

What does dual language look like at the middle school level?

At the middle school level, students spend half of their literacy units learning in Spanish and the other half of their unit in Spanish. Science and Social Studies are taught entirely in Spanish. 

What does dual language look like at the high school level?

At the high school level, students are placed into one of the following Spanish courses based upon their grade and language proficiency in Spanish: Spanish Literature, Spanish Text & Comp, AP Spanish Literature, AP Spanish Language & Culture. Students are also grouped together as a cohorte for English. 

If I have questions about the program, who do I contact?

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your building principal or Ashley Peirick, ELL Coordinator.