BEFORE YOU ENROLL
It is important to know before you enroll your child in DLS that the academic goals of DLS are very different than the academic goals of a traditional neighborhood school. Although our goals are similar with regard to high academic achievement and teaching to the Colorado State Standards, DLS has an ambitious and unique goal of bilingualism and bi-literacy by 8th grade. This requires an intense study of the target language (Spanish or Mandarin) for your child in the early years. Unless your child has been identified as an ESL student, there is no formal instruction in English prior to 3rd grade. Total immersion program research studies show that children's English literacy will be slightly behind their non-immersion peers in the early years, but by 5th grade they will be equal to their non-immersion peers in English. In the middle school years, research studies show immersion students will begin to outperform their non-immersion peers in all subject areas including English on standardized tests. It is in the secondary years when children reach a high proficiency in the target language, and this high language proficiency begins to positively impact all subjects, which is why DLS has developed a dynamic secondary program for our students.
If you do decide to change to a traditional program for your child in the early years, research studies show it will take approximately 1 year for your child to catch up in English. You will also be forfeiting the long-term goals of bilingualism and bi-literacy for your child. The language immersion model requires a long-term commitment to the program until 8th grade to reach these goals. This means entering the program being fully committed to bilingualism and to remain focused on these goals during the 3rd and 4th grade English literacy lag. By staying committed to the program, the outcome is your child will graduate 8th grade at DLS with not just high proficiency in the 3 R’s (Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic), but high proficiency in the 3R’s in two different languages! Bilingualism is a skill your child can tap into for the rest of their professional lives.
Language Use Policy
DLS has a policy of “No English in the Target Language Classroom.” At DLS, by the second half of the year in first grade, DLS students will be expected to use the target language during classroom academic time and are encouraged to do so in all public interactions in the target language classroom. Teachers cannot permit students or parent volunteers to use English in the target language classrooms.
However, DLS highly encourages parents to volunteer their time and to be actively involved in our school. To find out ways parents can appropriately volunteer their time at our unique immersion school, please visit the PTA website.