New Spanish-English Dual Language Choice Program in Lake Washington School District

    Lake Washington School District is developing a new dual language Spanish-English program to open at Einstein Elementary School starting in the 2018-19 school-year. Next year, the program will serve one kindergarten class and one 1st grade class, depending on enrollment. An additional grade level will be added each following year. The dual language program will have instruction in two languages, with half of the day taught entirely in Spanish, and the other half in English. Each dual language class is composed approximately 50% native Spanish speakers and 50% English speakers. Language learning happens through content instruction and interaction between students. Subjects such as math, science, English language arts and social studies, are taught to all students in Spanish and/or English.

    Students who reside within the Einstein attendance area will have preference for enrollment in the program. We anticipate that a limited number spaces will be available for native Spanish speaking students (3-8 spaces/class) and English-speaking students (3-5 spaces/class) who reside outside the Einstein attendance area. If more students apply than there are spaces, students will be selected for these spaces using the choice school lottery process.

    Family Information Night:
    January 8, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
    Location: Einstein Elementary School Library

    Application Process Timeline:

    • December 10, 2018 Online application opens (due by 4:00 p.m. on January 18, 2019)
    • January 18, 2019 Online applications due by 4:00 p.m.
    • February 1, 2019 Lottery held at district
    • February 8, 2019 Notification to families
    • February 22, 2019 – Acceptance deadline

    What is dual-language education?

    A dual language program has instruction in two languages. Students in the program in LWSD are both native English speakers and native Spanish speakers. Dual language classes have the same numbers of native English speakers and native Spanish speakers. In this program, language learning happens through content instruction. Subjects such as math, science, English language arts, and social studies, are taught to all students in English and/or Spanish. The program begins in Kindergarten and continues each year at the elementary level. We are also developing a dual language program to continue into middle and high school.

    Why are we developing a dual language program in Lake Washington School District?

    The Lake Washington School District has a history of providing a variety of educational program choices for students. We are developing a Spanish dual-language program as another choice for students and families. The goals for our program are for students to:

    • Be bilingual: to speak fluently in English and Spanish
    • Be biliterate: read and write fluently in English and Spanish
    • Demonstrate high academic achievement
    • Develop multicultural skills

    What are the benefits of dual-language education? What does the research tell us about dual-language instruction?

    • After 4-7 years, students in dual language programs have been shown to do as well or better than their peers not in the program.
    • Students develop bilingual and bicultural skills.
    • Students develop a positive sense of self and school, and multicultural skills.
    • Students appreciate and respect their own language and culture.
    • Students value Spanish and English equally.
    • Students who are bilingual and biliterate will have skills for more career opportunities.
    • It is expected that by 2023 more than half of students ages 5-19 in the Western United States will speak a language other than English at home.
    • Native English speakers learn Spanish best through immersion in the language.

    When do children in dual language programs become fluent in a second language (English or Spanish)?

    Becoming proficient in conversational language typically takes 3-5 years for students in a dual language program. After 4-7 years, students are able to speak, read, and write at the same or higher academic level as grade-level students who are not in the program. The benefit for the students in the dual language program is they are able to do it in two languages. For this reason, we are developing the dual language program to continue through elementary school and into middle and high school.

    How will the program be structured?

    Our dual language program will include a balanced number of native English and native Spanish-speaking students. During the school day, instruction is given in both languages. Students will learn approximately 50% of the time in Spanish and 50% of the time in English. For example, math may be taught in Spanish, science and social studies in English, and reading and writing in both languages. In the program native English and native Spanish-speaking students work together throughout the day. They have opportunities for communication in both languages. When the program is fully implemented a team of teachers will work together in grade bands (K-1, 2-3, and 4-5).

    Will my child learn the same subjects as students in other classes?

    Yes. Students participating in a dual language program learn the same subjects as students in other classes. These include reading, writing, math, science, social studies, physical education, art and music. Subjects that are taught in Spanish include instructional materials in that language.

    Will learning a second language impact his or her overall success in school? Will s/he fall behind?

    Since students are learning subjects in two languages, school success occurs at different rates than for students who are not in a dual language program. After 4-7 years, students in dual language programs usually perform at or above the academic levels of students not in the program. They are also biliterate and bilingual. So, it’s important for families to know that the benefits of a dual language program are best accomplished after several years. In order to ensure the benefits of this program, it is important for students to stay in the program for at least 6 years.

    How will my child understand if s/he does not speak the second language? What do the first days look like?

    Teachers spend the first days of school creating routines for students. They help students to get to know each other and their new class. They also help them to become familiar with the school. As with all transitions sometimes students feel nervous about the experience. Children need time to adjust to this new challenge. From the start, the students are made to feel secure. Be patient. By the end of the first month, most of the students are over the initial change. At the same time, many students are also more comfortable learning in their native language. When your child comes home, do not be upset if he/she does not feel like telling about his/her day at school. Children often are very tired after their day and need a change at home. If you have any concerns at all, your child’s teacher is always available to help.

    What are the program expectations for parents?

    For students to be successful in a dual language program, they need to participate every year in grades K-5. In addition, we are developing a middle school program for students who want to continue their learning after elementary school. Parents enrolling their children in the program are asked to commit to keeping their child in it through the end of elementary school.

    At this time, transportation is not planned to be provided by the district and would be a parent responsibility. We are gathering information as to whether this would impact the decision of parents.

    How will students be selected for the program?

    Choice schools and programs are optional, created to meet specific needs and interests. They are designed to be smaller. Choice programs use approaches that are different from traditional public schools. Choice schools and programs are often held within a school or on the same campus as another school.

    Students must apply to be considered for enrollment in the school or program: the schools are small by design, so enrollment is limited. Each dual language class is composed approximately 50% native Spanish speakers and 50% English speakers.

    Application Process Timeline:

    • Online Application Open: May 18-June 1
    • Program Lottery: June 6
    • Notification to Families: June 8
    • Acceptance Forms Due: June 15

    Who can I contact if I want more information?

    Robin Imai, Principal Einstein Elementary, 425-936-2540

    Mike VanOrden, Associate Superintendent, 425-936-1267

    Contact Us

    Phone: 425-936-1316