Dual Language Program


Monroe School District Dual Language students will develop high academic and linguistic proficiency in two languages by participating in a rigorous academic program that enhances the development of bilingualism, biculturalism and biliteracy so that students will graduate ready for college, career and life in a globally competitive economy.

What is Dual Language and why do we have it in the Monroe School District?

Dual Language is a form of instruction where delivery of content and skills occurs in both English and another language students are learning.  In the Monroe School District, students participating in the Dual Language program learn in English and Spanish.  The reason why we support a Dual Language program is because it provides our students for whom Spanish is their primary language an opportunity to maintain their connection to their home language and culture which can promote biliteracy, belonging, and confidence among our Spanish speaking students as well as offer an opportunity for students whose primary language is English the chance to acquire a second language at an early age.  

Dual Language is currently offered at Frank Wagner Elementary School where students are able to think, read, write, and communicate in both Spanish and English.  We are developing plans to increase Dual Language offerings in our secondary schools in the future.

Why Dual Language?

The Dual Language Program has been designed to maximize the benefits of second and multiple language learning for student participants based on the premise that the earlier a child is introduced to a language, the greater the likelihood that the child will become truly proficient. The program design is evidence-based. A significant body of research has established many benefits for learning an additional language. These benefits are cognitive, academic, economic and social in nature. Additionally, learning other languages encourages students to actively participate in an increasingly interdependent world.

The research on Dual Language Programs in the United States demonstrates that native speakers of other languages can indeed attain grade level proficiencies in both languages of instruction and in turn, close the performance gap between themselves and their English-only speaking peers. Research also indicates that multilingual learners have a higher rate of success in DL Education versus English-only instructional programs because students have maximum access to the curriculum. The following research studies indicate:

  • High quality, long-term bilingual education (dual language) is the only model that fully closes the achievement gap for multilingual/English learners. This finding is based on research in 36 school districts across 16 states, analyzing more than 7.5 million student records of multilingual learners (Collier & Thomas, 2017).

  • Students in two-way dual language programs also have a unique opportunity to develop literacy and academic skills in both their native language and English in a culturally validating setting (Lindholm-Leary, 2017).

  • Multilingual learners in Dual Language Education have a more positive self-concept and are more likely to remain in school, graduate from high school and attend college as compared to multilingual learners in English-only instruction (Thomas & Collier, 2002, 2017).

  • English and multilingual learners educated in dual language education programs outperform English and multilingual learners educated in English-only instruction and short-term native language programs (Genesee & Lindholm-Leary, 2010).

  • Multilingual learners who enter high school reclassified to English proficient status are able to fully participate in college-bound schedules and courses and develop a college-going mindset (Lindholm-Leary, 2010).

  • Multilingual learners continue to stay connected with their families by developing their mother tongue as well as learning English and the partner language in school (Cummins, 2001).

What does the data say?

The data on Dual Language is very clear.  It is the best way to address the needs of students for whom English is not their first language.  You will notice from the illustration below that the curve demonstrating the highest performance is located at the top of the graph.  That metric is the Two-Way Dual Language metric, the model we employ at Frank Wagner Elementary.  


Commitment to the Program

Parents with a school-age, eligible child must attend an informational meeting, usually held in February, to better understand the program components and requirements. Participation in the dual language program requires parents to commit student participation through the fifth grade in order to develop bilingualism. In addition, parents will attend regularly scheduled parent education workshops on dual language programs, encouraging your children's appreciation for language and literacy development in two languages.


Parents must complete and submit the kindergarten registration application to Frank Wagner Elementary in the spring for the upcoming school year. If applications exceed openings, a drawing will be held and applicants not selected will be placed on a wait list.  Parents who wish to enroll their student in the Dual Language program after Kindergarten must work with the school administration to determine placement and fit.

For more information, please contact:

Frank Wagner Elementary
115 Dickinson Road
Monroe, WA 98272
(360) 804.3200