Dual Language

Snapshot of Dual Language Education at Bancroft Elementary

Target Languages:   English/Spanish
Participating Grades: K - 5th 
Number of DL classrooms: 20
Subjects taught in Spanish: Reading, writing, math, science
Subjects taught in English: Reading, writing, math, social studies, art, music, PE.

Bancroft is a dual language (Spanish/English) elementary school.  Starting in Kindergarten, students spend half of their academic class time each day working in English with one teacher and the other half working in Spanish with another teacher.  There are two teachers in every classroom Kinder to 5th grade.  A majority of Bancroft’s students are native Spanish speakers, and its student body as a whole includes children from many nationalities.  
Bancroft’s early childhood classrooms have a lead teacher and an instructional aide.  Classrooms include native speakers of both languages and are structured to expose all children to both languages so they can all be successful in the formal dual language program, which begins in Kindergarten. 

Bancroft also offers one Pre-S classroom and one Pre-K classroom that are full-immersion Spanish.

What is Dual Language Education?

Dual Language Education (DLE) is an enriched educational program in which students learn academic subjects in two languages.  DCPS Dual Language classrooms usually have a mix of English-dominant and Spanish-dominant students who work together to learn the grade level material in two languages—Spanish and English.  Long-term studies of test results show that students in Dual Language programs tend to equal or exceed their peers who are learning in English only and they have the added benefit of having learned a second language! The long-term goals of all DCPS Dual 
Language education programs are:
Bilingualism
Biliteracy
High Academic Achievement
Cultural Awareness & Appreciation

The Benefits of Bilingualism

Bilingual children:

Show increased mental flexibility and stronger problem solving skills 
Are more willing and able to learn a 3rd language
Generally score higher on verbal standardized test scores in English
Maintain a strong sense of their own identity while developing a sensitivity towards other cultures
Get a head start in competition for universities and jobs in a global economy


Frequently Asked Questions about Dual Language Education

My child doesn’t speak Spanish.  How will s/he understand?  Dual Language teachers are trained as both subject area and language teachers and  help make lessons understandable by using  hands-on learning, visual supports, interactive activities and by teaching subject areas thematically.

We don’t speak Spanish at home.  Is that a problem? It is not necessary for the new language to be used at home. Dual Language teaching teams work together to make sure that your child is developing both their first and second languages from the early childhood grades and on.  

How long will it take my child to learn Spanish? Although your child may begin speaking and understanding their new language within a couple of years, research has shown that it can take 4—7 years for students to develop full proficiency.  This program requires a long term commitment from parents!

Will learning in two languages affect my child’s test scores?  No, with your support at home your child should be able to do as well as peers in English-only classrooms and studies have shown that bilingual children often outperform their monolingual peers in time.

Can my child start the Dual Language program at any age?  It is recommended that children enter the Dual Language program no later than 1st grade so that they can build language skills in the early grades.
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