Spanish Immersion

Delaware and Languages

The Governor's World Language Expansion Initiative proposes an aggressive world language education plan that prepares Indian River School District students with the language skills to compete in an ever-changing global economy at home and around the world. In essence, Indian River will begin to graduate globally-competent students with advanced-level proficiency in languages, giving them an economic advantage in the multilingual and multicultural workforce of the 21st century.

Why Spanish Immersion?

Spanish ImmersionMore than forty years of research consistently documents the power of immersion education to help students attain high levels of world language proficiency.  No other type of instruction, short of living in a non-English-speaking environment, is as successful.  Young children especially thrive in this type of learning environment where learning a new language comes as naturally as learning their first one. World language immersion programs are also the least expensive way for schools and district to deliver high quality world language learning opportunities to their students.  The Spanish Immersion Program curriculum model engages students in two different languages throughout their elementary school learning experience:  English and Spanish. 

Immersion Model

World Language Immersion Programs offer a robust bilingual experience for young learners at the point in their cognitive development that is perfect for the acquisition of a new language.  Students benefit from the instruction of two highly-qualified classroom teachers—one who will teach them for half of the day in English and the other for half of the day in the Spanish language.

The English-speaking teacher will teach English Language Arts as well as select elements of science and social studies from the Delaware Recommended Curriculum and select elements of mathematics from the Common Core State Standards.  The Immersion-language teacher will teach Language Arts for the immersion language, mathematics based on the Common Core State Standards, science and portions of the social studies curriculum.  World Language Immersion students follow the same standards-based curriculum in all content areas that non-immersion students would follow in any other Delaware elementary classroom.

Elementary World Language Immersion Programs have identified an uninterrupted K-12 Immersion pathway for students to continuously build toward advanced-level language proficiency.  In the middle school, students will have a hybrid, online world language learning experience with Immersion language-speaking peers.  In high school, immersion students will be able to take the AP Spanish course in 9th grade and then participate in dual-enrollment or dual-credit courses with local universities.

Proven Advantages

  • World Language Proficiency Students achieve high levels of world language proficiency in the immersion language.  By enrolling in a Delaware World Language Immersion program, students are on a pathway to read, write, speak, and listen in another language at high intermediate proficiency level by the ninth grade when they take Advanced Placement language and its corresponding AP test.  By continuing study of the same language in high school, they can achieve advanced language proficiency skills and possibly earn credit towards a language minor at Delaware colleges and universities.
  • Improved Test Performance Research shows that immersion students perform as well or better than their non-immersion peers on standardized tests of English and mathematics, even when these assessments are delivered in English.
  • Enhanced Cognitive Skills Immersion students develop greater cognitive flexibility, demonstrating increased attention control, better memory and superior problem-solving skills, as well as an enhanced understanding of their first language.
  • Increased Cultural Sensitivity Immersion students are much more aware of and show a more positive attitude towards different cultures and an appreciation of people who have different cultural perspectives and practices. 
  • Long-Term Benefits Immersion students are better prepared for the global community and job markets where world language skills provide them with an economic advantage.  Professionals such as those in medicine, international trade, pharmaceuticals, the oil and gas industry, power industry, luxury good and other transportation technologies encompass extensive multilingual networks locally and around the world. As business relationships deepen between Delaware and other countries, having skills to communicate in Spanish will be an invaluable economic advantage.

Program Objectives

  • Maximize students’ proficiency in a world language in order for them to develop advanced-level language skills in secondary school
  • Provide a rich academic environment in both the English and Immersion-language classrooms
  • Develop students’ abilities to work successfully in multiple cultural settings
  • Offer a rich, culturally-diverse experience for the entire school community

 Who Can Participate?

The Spanish Immersion Program is open to all students of varying backgrounds and abilities. Applications are available for those students who wish to attend John. M. Clayton Elementary and East Millsboro Elementary. Transportation is not provided to those students who are granted school choice.

Parent Responsibilities

  • Commit to long-term participation in the immersion program so that your child can develop advanced-level language skills
  • Develop an understanding of immersion education
  • Read with your child in English 20-30 minutes daily
  • Encourage the use of the immersion language outside of school
  • Encourage community support
  • Enjoy the challenges and celebrate the results 

How to Enroll?

For information about enrolling your child in one of the Delaware World Language Immersion Programs, contact a participating school. Each school’s information is located below.

  • John M. Clayton Elementary School 302.732.3808 Frankford, Delaware 19945
  • East Millsboro Elementary 302.934.3222 Millsboro, Delaware 19966