Language Immersion Programs in the NYC Suburbs

Jul 13, 2020

These districts offer incredible language immersion experiences for K-12.

There are countless perks to teaching kids a second language early on. Not only does foreign language learning improve cognitive development and promote higher academic achievement but, as universities and careers become increasingly global, having a second or even third language under your belt is always a plus.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise language immersion programs are popping up all over the NYC suburbs—and that families are clamoring to get their kids in the mix. These popular districts and K-12 programs can help your kids become multi-lingual and multi-literate, without any additional out of pocket cost or added time commitment. If language immersion tops your must-have list, check out these schools.

Norwalk, CT (Fairfield County)

Any student in the Norwalk District can apply to attend Silvermine Dual Language Magnet School, a K-5 magnet school Here, students are immersed in a 50-50 model of Spanish and English instruction, promoting accelerated learning through immersion,

Silvermine kids start each morning learning in one language then switch to the other midday. This model, the school reports, encourages bilingual proficiency and a positive cross-cultural attitude.

In the district’s other elementary schools, students have lessons in Spanish, but without an immersion model.

Beyond Silvermine’s immersion program, Norwalk offers a World Language program in each school. In these rigorous programs, participants build 21st-century skills that will help them prepare to be productive global citizens. High school students can take Spanish, French, Italian or Latin, including AP- and IB-level courses. In middle school, students can choose between Spanish and French.

Mt, Kisco, NY (Westchester)

Students attending Mount Kisco Elementary School benefit from the school’s Dual Language Bilingual Education program. Mount Kisco is part of the Bedford Central School District, which serves students in the Villages of Mount Kisco, Bedford Hills, Bedford Village and Pound Ridge.

Each elementary classroom is divided into two zones—one Spanish and one English. As early as kindergarten, lessons are delivered in a side-by-side model, with kids learning through not just dedicated Spanish classes but through their core curriculum taught in both English and Spanish throughout the week. This system supports students as they work to become bilingual while, at the same time, encourages them to build divergent thinking skills.

This language learning continues beyond 5th grade, with language offered throughout middle and high school. In 6th grade, middle schoolers can either opt to stick with Spanish or shift to French or Italian—both have a seven-year intensive that spans 6th-12th grades. In high school, Latin is also an option.

Graduates from the Bedford Central School District are eligible for the Seal of Biliteracy. This honor shows employers and universities that the student is highly proficient in a second language.

Princeton, NJ (Mercer County)

Elementary school students at Community Park School in Princeton spend half of each day learning in Spanish and half learning in English—science, math and Spanish language arts are taught in Spanish while social studies, language arts, PE, music and library are taught in English. This Dual Language Immersion program is designed to help students improve their cognitive thinking abilities and build strong second-language skills.

After graduating from 5th grade, students have the option to continue studying Spanish or move into another world language such as French, Mandarin, Italian, Latin or Japanese.

Englewood, NJ (Bergen County)

Englewood Public Schools offer multiple language immersion programs. The One Way Immersion Program, which is available at Grieco and McCloud Elementary Schools, is designed to help English learners prepare to enter mainstream or Dual Language Immersion classes.

As early as preK, students can enter the Dual Language Program. Classes are taught two languages by two separate teachers. This model helps children become bi-literate and bilingual quickly and easily while helping them gain a greater appreciation for Spanish language and culture.

The district also offers a Mandarin Immersion Program at Quarles and Grieco Elementary Schools. Kindergartners learn Mandarin once a week while 1st and 2nd graders are instructed in Mandarin for 80 minutes each day.

Mamaroneck & Larchmont, NY (Westchester County)

Students in Mamaroneck and Larchmont who attend the Mamaroneck Union Free School District benefit from the district-wide “Dos Caminos” program. This K-6, 50-50 immersion Dual Language Program is designed to help both English and Spanish speakers become bilingual and bi-literate. Instructors in the Spanish and English zones create lessons together to ensure teaching consistency.

This program not only helps each student gain competencies in language learning, but it also encourages them to be naturally curious about the world around them.

White Plains, NY (Westchester County)

Starting in kindergarten, White Plains Public School students can attend the Dual Language Academy at George Washington Elementary. All subjects are taught in both English and Spanish with clear-cut benchmarks set to ensure conversational skills very early on.

Throughout the program, students study math, science and social studies in a mixed-language environment. During their course of study, students learn more about the diverse cultures in their community, helping kids develop not just dual literacy and language skills but, also, an appreciation for the community around them.

Tarrytown, NY (Westchester County)

From kindergarten through 4th grade, students in Tarrytown’s Dual Language Program work side-by-side to become bilingual. Immersion happens for most of the day, with literacy instruction in both Spanish and English. In addition, most academic subjects are integrated with Spanish language content to give students a better context for their daily lessons.

As monolingual students work together, they help each other build stronger bi-literate skills. This also encourages cooperation, teamwork and cross-cultural awareness.

Glen Head/Sea Cliff, NY (Nassau County)

Although it doesn’t offer a full immersion program, this district places a high value on language learning and has been recognized in state and national Mandarin recitation and literacy competitions. Starting in kindergarten, students take Mandarin multiple times per week, with added twice-weekly after school intensives and through language learning apps and added optional coursework provided for at-home use.

In 3rd grade, students can continue with Mandarin or switch to a Spanish intensive.

Elementary school children are part of the state’s Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) program. As they get older, students can join the Foreign Language Honor Society by meeting rigorous standards of scholarship and leadership in their language courses.

Ossining, NY (Westchester)

In addition to the English as a New Language Program, Ossining offers a bilingual Spanish and English program to students. Starting in PreK, lessons are taught with a two-way dual language approach. Integrating native English and Spanish speakers in the same classrooms helps the students learn from each other.

Classroom instruction is provided in both languages throughout the day, instead of a 50-50 model. The goal of this approach is to encourage monolingual speakers to learn how to speak, read and write proficiently in a second language.

New Rochelle, NY (Westchester County)

Unlike most programs on this list, New Rochelle Public Schools offers an Italian/English Dual Language Program in addition to a Spanish/English program.

Starting in kindergarten, Spanish is offered at Ward, Jefferson, Columbus and Trinity Elementary Schools. Students can participate in the Italian FLES program at the Barnard School and transition to the Italian/English Dual Language Program at Jefferson School starting in 3rd grade.

Keep in mind, these programs are in high demand, so be sure to fill out an interest form during the winter of your child’s pre-K or kindergarten year. New Rochelle Public Schools offers these programs to help children become multi-literate global citizens.

Garden City (Long Island)

While it doesn’t extend past preschool, Spanish Immersion Workshop in Garden City offers full-time preschool and daycare with full Spanish immersion. This, the school explains, is better than standard 50/50 immersions—kids have ample opportunity to speak English at home and out of school so, during the day, lessons are 100% Spanish. The program also operates in Huntington.

Whether you’re prioritizing language immersion or another key concentration, we can help you find suburbs that sync. Get in touch now to schedule your Suburbs Strategy Session. All of our services are 100% free.

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