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Program Information

What model do you use?

San Martin/Gwinn uses the 90/10 model, where 90% of the instructional day is in Spanish for Kindergarten, and 10% is in English. English instruction increases 10% each year until 4th grade when the children are taught 50% in each language. We chose this model because research has shown that students in the 90/10 model are more proficient in Spanish at the end of the program with no detriment to their English development. For more information, please check the Centers for Applied Linguistics website or this link

How do Spanish speakers benefit from this program? Will less exposure to English in the early grades disrupt their English learning?

In the early grades, English Language Learners (ELLs) in Dual Immersion Programs may have slower English progress than their peers in traditional programs because they spend more learning time in their first language. Studies have shown, however, that eventually ELL students in traditional programs reach a plateau in their literacy, while those in Dual Immersion easily grow past this phase thanks to their strong native language literacy (Hakuta & Gould, 1987).

How many students are selected each school year?

To maximize language learning, each class is made up of half native English speakers and half native Spanish speakers. About 60 kindergarten spots are open, 30 for each language group.  DIME enrollment is based on many factors, including total school enrollment, the number of interested pupils, and other considerations. The final number will depend on the needs of the children and requirements to maintain a quality dual immersion program. We strive to include every interested student in the Dual Immersion program.

Can parents volunteer in the classroom?

Yes. Parents are encouraged to volunteer in the classroom and familiarize themselves with the target language. Please note however that there are times when only Spanish is spoken in the classrooms. There are also many other ways to volunteer, including assisting in fundraisers, Home and School club coordination, and more.

How will students be selected for the Dual Immersion program?

Families must attend a program orientation meeting and sign a parent commitment letter.  Incoming kinder families follow district enrollment procedures.  Students outside the SMG attendance area do not need to complete a transfer request.

The district will conduct a lottery in March for program enrollment and ensure linguistic balance.  Based on lottery results, students that do not get into the program will be placed on a priority waiting list.

Is testing the same as for non-Dual Immersion students?

Yes. Program assessments are the same for both standard and Dual Immersion students.

Will two languages confuse my child or slow down their academic progress?

There is no research to indicate that this is the case. Research has consistently demonstrated that learning in two languages enhances academic growth. Dual immersion students generally attain academic achievement that is at or above their peers in English only classes.

Can siblings be in the program?  Are siblings given priority enrollment?

Yes. To promote whole-family language learning, younger siblings have priority placement in DIME.