Dual Language Immersion Program Details

  • Pasadena Unified School District Dual Language Immersion Program students develop into bi-cognitive, reflective, culturally sensitive citizens. Their exceptional multilingual proficiency and expanded worldview prepare them to engage in a dynamic, competitive global society equipped with the skills necessary to be successful in the 21st century.

    Program Goals

    Bilingualism and Bi-literacy: Students develop a high level of thinking, listening, speaking, reading, writing proficiency in the English and the partner language.

    Academic Excellence: Students strive for academic excellence in all subject areas, meeting or exceeding District and Common Core State Standards.

    Multicultural Understanding: Students develop positive attitudes and appreciation toward world languages and cultures in our global society, promoting their involvement in world issues.

    Critical Program Features

    The following program characteristics are research-based and critical to the successful implementation of Dual Language Immersion programs and to the development of bilingualism, biliteracy, academic success, and multicultural understanding.

    Students need to start learning a second language early. There is a direct correlation between the age of the child and length of study of a second language and the attainable level of proficiency in that language. PUSD program administrators have considered both the research and the elements that are described below when designing this PUSD Signature program.

    1. Language separation
      The program involves periods of instruction during which only one language is used; no translation or language mixing is done by classroom teachers. The program has a policy of language separation, which means staying in one language rather than mixing English and the partner language during a given period of instruction. Since Spanish, Mandarin, or French proficiency is a learning objective for the program, teachers deliver certain content in Spanish or Mandarin, focusing not only on mastery of content but also on the acquisition of language, including vocabulary and language structure and functions. This is also referred to as Content Based Instruction (CBI). CBI is designed carefully to integrate language and content, to address second language-learner needs and to encourage the transfer of skills, strategies and knowledge across languages. Research shows that separation of languages for instruction helps to promote communication skills and language development. The way that teachers separate their instruction is shown in the Instructional Minutes per Language of Instruction charts that follow.
    2. Student integration
      Social interaction between students from both linguistic groups provides optimal second language development; students must be integrated for the majority of the day (including non-instructional time). DLIP students must have adequate exposure to English and the partner language. In order for students to acquire the partner language, students need sufficient exposure to the language structures in formal and informal settings. The type of exposure is as important as the amount of exposure.
    3. Parent collaboration
      Parents have a significant influence on a child's academic and social performance. The DLIP Parent Advisory Counsel (PAC) is composed of principals, teachers, and parents from each DLIP school. DLIP Parent Advisory Counsel (PAC) provides input on the development of the program. 
    4. Length of participation
      PUSD is committed to providing a K-12 sequence for the DLIP. Becoming bilingual takes approximately seven years in an intensive learning environment. Continuous participation through at least the 6th grade is necessary for students to start exhibiting the cognitive, academic, and linguistic benefits of bilingualism. In order to reap the full linguistic and cognitive advantages of advanced language proficiency, districts should plan their program to continue into high school. Continuous enrollment starting in early elementary can lead to intermediate, pre-advanced or advanced levels of proficiency by the end of high school. Research shows that the more advanced level of proficiency in a second language a student has, the higher his or her SAT and college placement scores will be.
    5. Balanced language representation
      The program must have a balance of language minority and language majority students; interaction between the students facilitates high levels of second language proficiency. The goal is to keep the representation of two languages balanced at 50:50 with half of the students dominant in English and the other half of the students dominant in the partner language. Understanding that enrollment is fluid, the District has identified an acceptable range of language representation that will continue to serve the needs of the community with minimal negative effect on the instructional program (50:50 — 70:30 with up to 70% of the students dominant in English and 30% of the students dominant in the partner language).
    6. Additive bilingual approach
      All school staff must create additive bilingual approaches for all students and families. An additive bilingual environment means that students maintain and develop oral and written skills in their first language while they simultaneously acquire those skills in a second language.