Dual Language Program

Students in the Monroe School District Dual Language Program learn grade-level content, language, and literacy in English and Spanish. Students are immersed primarily in Spanish starting in kindergarten to provide strong language modeling and significant practice in using the language through grade-level academic content and literacy instruction. By 4th grade, half of their learning is in both languages. Our Dual Language(DL) classrooms consist of a balance of multilingual/English learners, including native Spanish-speaking students, and native English-speaking students, which is often referred to as a two-way dual language program. 

We believe, and research validates*, that the Dual Language Program :

  • Promotes high academic achievement
  • Fosters true bilingualism and biliteracy with high levels of proficiency in both languages
  • Increases culturally responsive teaching throughout the school
  • Closes the achievement gap between English language learners and native English speakers
  • Fosters and promotes cultural diversity and respect among students and their families
  • Cultivates a sense of unity throughout the school

*See research by Thomas & Collier, 1997-2020 and Lindholm-Leary & Genesee, 2010.

K-5 Dual Language Program at Frank Wagner Elementary

The Dual Language Program at Frank Wagner Elementary uses a 90:10 model, where: 

  • Students begin in kindergarten with 90% of the school day immersed in Spanish and 10% in English. English instruction is increased each year by about 10% until students are learning for 50% of their time in each language by fourth grade. 
  • Classrooms are made up of a 50%-50% balance of English learners and Spanish learners, or as close to this percentage as possible.
  • Students fully participate in all school programs, such as music, physical education, digital learning, and art.

6-8 Dual Language Program at Park Place Middle School

The Dual Language Program at Park Place Middle School is for students in grades 6-8 who already have a solid foundation of Spanish fluency. Students in this program take 30-40% of their daily courses in Spanish, including Reading, Writing/Social Studies, and other content areas as highly qualified teachers are hired. Other daily courses, such as math, science, and electives, are taken in English. The Dual Language courses are made up of a 50%-50% balance of English learners and Spanish learners, or as close to this percentage as possible.

During the middle school registration process in the spring, students in the 5th grade Dual Language classes will be placed in available Spanish classes for 6th grade at Park Place Middle School, unless the family has indicated otherwise.

Deciding if the Dual Language Program is Right for Your Family

Students in the DL program will see incredible benefits throughout their life. Being fluent in two languages increases success rates in college-level language courses and employment opportunities. Additionally, language skills provide access to other countries, cultures and people.

The DL program is a good fit for families that: ​ 

  • Value other cultures, people, art, history, and diversity​ 
  • Support learning a second language and encourage practicing the language at home 
  • Participate in school projects, meetings, and activities ​ 
  • Are willing to commit to a minimum of 6+ years in the DL program
  • Provide opportunities for their student to practice their second language

For the greatest opportunity of success in the DL program, your child should:

  • Have strong pre-literacy skills (interest in language through books, singing, verbal play, etc.)
  • Be able to handle change and transitions throughout the day
  • Exhibit a positive attitude about learning new things
  • Be self-motivated
  • Have a growth mindset

Commitment to the Program

Family commitment, cooperation, and support are vital for students' success in the DL program. Learning a second language is a long-term process and as such, families must commit to having their children remain in the program through 5th grade. In addition, we ask that families of students in the DL program commit to ensuring your child attends school on a regular basis and to reading to your child daily, in either language, to help develop their literacy skills. 

Program Enrollment


A Dual Language Program Information Night will be held on March 26, 2024 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Frank Wagner Elementary for interested incoming kindergarten families.

Students entering kindergarten must be 5-years-old by August 31 in order to attend public school. The Dual Language Program is a neighborhood school-based program, which means priority for admission is given first to incoming kindergarten students who live within the boundaries of Frank Wagner Elementary. After that, priority is given in the following order:

  1. Siblings of currently enrolled students
  2. Monroe School District students
  3. Out-of-district students


Kindergarten families must turn in an interest form to be considered for possible enrollment in the program. Interest forms are due no later than 4:00 p.m. on May 31, 2024. 

2024-25 Kindergarten Interest Form


If the kindergarten classes are not filled with students from within the Frank Wagner Elementary attendance area, a lottery drawing of interest forms from beyond Frank Wagner attendance area will be conducted. First priority will be given to Monroe School District students in other elementary attendance areas, followed by interest forms from outside the district boundaries. Separate lottery drawings will be held to balance the numbers of Spanish & English speaking and bilingual students. Students who are not selected in the lottery drawing will be placed on a waiting list. The lottery drawing will be completed in June. In the event there is not a balance of English and Spanish speaking students, the interest form will remain open until there is a balance. All families will be notified within two weeks of the lottery drawing.


  • Interest forms are due no later than 4:00 p.m. on May 31, 2024.
  • Families will be notified of acceptance or placement on the waitlist through email by the end of June 2024.
  • Families who receive notification of acceptance must confirm their acceptance within two weeks of notification.
  • Students must officially enroll in the district (if not already enrolled) and an inter/intra-district transfer form (if Frank Wagner Elementary is not your resident school) to attend the Dual Language Program must be submitted. Families committing to to the Dual Language Program must also sign a Parent Compact.
  • ORIENTATION: Families of students accepted into the program are REQUIRED to attend an orientation meeting held before the school year begins. This orientation will further describe the program, expectations, and provide answers to questions. Date TBD.

Grades 1-8

Students participating in the DL program will continue in the next grade level the following year. Students in the 5th grade Dual Language classes will be placed in available Spanish classes for 6th grade at Park Place Middle School, unless the family has indicated otherwise.

Students who wish to enter the DL program in grades beyond kindergarten must participate in a short interview and language screener so that we can determine the students’ language skills and strengths. Students new to the DL program MUST speak Spanish (either native Spanish-speaker or transferring from another school where the student was actively participating in a Dual Language program).

**Students on the waiting list will be placed into the Dual Language Program, as openings are available. The principal, in consultation with the Dual Language Program teachers, may add additional students to the program after the start of the school year. The school office will notify parents by phone and written notification of placement in the program.**

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does the Dual Language Program differ from other classrooms in the Monroe School District?

Students in the Dual Language Program are taught the same Essential Standards as other Monroe School District students, but receive instruction in Spanish. They learn to understand, speak, read and write Spanish in addition to English. Classroom teachers are biliterate in Spanish and English and are chosen for their skills and their commitment to the goals of the program. 

Q: Why should I consider enrolling my child in a dual language program?

Dual language programs are the most effective type of foreign language programs currently available in U.S. schools. Most students participating in a dual language program will reach higher levels of second language proficiency than students in other school-based language programs (Met, 1998). Becoming bilingual provides cognitive benefits as well as the opportunity to compete for jobs that require a second language. Numerous studies consistently show that students in foreign language immersion programs achieve as well as or better than non-immersion peers on standardized measures of verbal and mathematics skills administered in English (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2000; Genesee, 1987). In addition, students have the opportunity to develop positive cross-cultural attitudes and behavior.

Q: How will learning in a second language affect my child’s English language and literacy development?

Research consistently finds that participation in a dual language program actually enhances English language development (Cloud, Genesee, & Hamayan, 2000). In a dual language program, students’ English development may lag temporarily in reading, word knowledge, and spelling while instruction is occurring in two languages. However, after a year or two of instruction in English language arts, this discrepancy disappears (Genesee, 1987). It is important for families to understand that this lag is temporary and to be expected.

English language instruction begins in third grade. At that point, many students are behind their English-only peers in English reading and writing ability. However, studies show that by 4th grade their English skills are equal to or better than their peers. Studies show that Spanish immersion students perform in English language arts, math, and other areas as well as, and often better than, their monolingual peers on standardized achievement tests administered in English. 

Q: Will my child become proficient in the second language? How long will that take?

Generally, it takes students 4-10 years to achieve cognitive academic language proficiency in a second language. The time it takes to learn a language is influenced by many factors, including students’ personality and motivation, teacher expectations, parental support, program leadership, and support at both the school and district level. Student success requires the active involvement of all of these individuals. Achieving high levels of oral and written proficiency in a second language is a long-term process. A long-term commitment is essential, and families need to understand that native-like proficiency in every skill area is unlikely. Still, dual language students will have a strong second language base to continue moving toward full proficiency and to develop proficiency in additional languages. 

Q: What can I do to support my child’s immersion experience if I do not speak the second language?

Families should be knowledgeable about dual language education, make a commitment to keep their child in the program, and support their children’s use of the target language outside of school. One way to support the use of both languages outside of school is by providing reading materials, games, and language enrichment activities at home in both languages. Parents need to provide opportunities to enhance their child’s native language and literacy development. Reading to their child at night in the native language is one example. Research shows that the stronger the development of the native language, the greater the proficiency in both languages. Therefore, children who enter a dual language program with a strong base in their native language will succeed more easily than those whose native language skills are not as strong.

Students whose parents obtain at least a basic knowledge of the languages their child is learning may have an advantage. Spanish homework assignments are not translated into English, nor are English homework assignments translated into Spanish. It is expected that parents will assist in homework activities to the best of their ability. In addition, families are encouraged to:

  • Attend school events and learn a few words or phrases in the other language so you can interact with other families.
  • Ask your child about their learning but don’t expect them to use the other language with you at home. Using your own language at home provides the best model and cognitive development for your child. Read to your child in the language that is spoken at home.
  • Ask your child to practice explaining their learning in one language in the other language. This is a valuable way to build language connections.
  • Volunteer or get involved in the classroom or the school. Your child will see that you value their education and efforts to become bilingual.
  • Encourage your child to stay in the program even when it feels challenging. Remember that it takes many years to learn another language, especially as children are still developing their first language.

Q: Can I enroll my child in the Dual Language Program after kindergarten?

Most students enter the program in kindergarten. If there are opening in grades 1-8, students must participate in a short interview and language screener so that we can determine the students’ language skills and strengths. Students new to the DL program MUST speak Spanish (either native Spanish-speaker or transferring from another school where the student was actively participating in a Dual Language program). Please contact the school if you would like to have your 1st-8th grade student screened.

Q: Does Monroe School District offer Dual Language in middle school and high school?

Monroe School District is currently expanding its Dual Language Program into the secondary schools for the 2024-25 school year, beginning with 6th grade at Park Place Middle School. As these students progress through the program, we will expand the program to the next grade level each subsequent year.

Helpful Resources for Parents

  • Books: Your child can read and listen to books in both languages. You can find the books and audiobooks you need at the school library, public libraries, bookstores, and on the internet. 

  • Audio: Singing is a great way to practice a second language with your child, and it can be lots of fun! Ask for suggestions from your local librarian. 

  • Video: Children’s programs are available in many languages. These programs often teach children about numbers, letters, colors, and basic vocabulary.