Language Immersion Programs: Shaping Students for Global Success

Apr 12, 2024

These districts prioritize multilingual proficiency

There are countless perks to raising bilingual kids. From boosting cognitive flexibility to expanding professional opportunities, learning a second language is a major win in school and beyond – and these districts get it.

We’ve rounded up some of the most sought-after language immersion programs in the NYC suburbs. With programs starting as early as preK, these schools ensure kids have access to dynamic language training with an eye on culture, communication, and appreciation for our global neighbors. If language immersion is important to your family, start here: 

WESTCHESTER

Mamaroneck Union Free School District (Larchmont and Mamaroneck, NY)

Union Free School District students can participate in the Dos Caminos dual language program. This district-wide Spanish-English immersion program starts in kindergarten and continues through 10th grade. Interested families can enter the Dos Caminos lottery before their students start kindergarten.

The empowering program promotes bilingualism and biliteracy by following an 80-20 language model in younger grades and a 50-50 model as students get older. 

City School District of New Rochelle (New Rochelle, NY)

Students in the New Rochelle District can join the Italian FLES program at Henry Barnard School. This program runs from kindergarten to 2nd grade for 80 minutes each week. Students can continue studying in grades 3-5 at Jefferson Elementary School.

Ossining School District (Ossining, NY)

The Ossining School District has one-way and two-way dual language programs starting in preK. The one-way program, designed for students from a Spanish-speaking background, uses simultaneous English and Spanish instructions. 

The two-way dual language program is for English speakers and new English learners. Students can enter the program via a lottery and will have the chance to develop bilingualism and biliteracy skills as they read, speak, listen, and learn in both languages.

Public Schools of the Tarrytowns (Tarrytown, NY)

In Tarrytown, students can participate in a dual language program from kindergarten to 5th grade. The additive Spanish-English program helps students learn a second language while continuing to develop skills in their first language. General education classes are conducted in both languages to help students become bilingual and bi-literate and develop an appreciation for different cultures. 

White Plains Public Schools (White Plains, NY)

White Plains Public Schools runs a K-12 Dual Language program integrating English and non-English speakers in the same classroom. General education lessons are given in both languages to promote diverse language skills and help students build their self-esteem.

Students can also take Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, and American Sign Language (ASL) world language courses starting in 6th grade.

Port Chester Public Schools (Rye Brook and Port Chester, NY)

Port Chester is home to a significant  multilingual community, and the school district has multiple dual language learning programs for students in preK to 12th grade. JFK Elementary School offers one-way dual language programs to help Spanish speakers become bilingual.

Park Avenue School, Thomas A. Edison School, and King Street School have two-way dual language programs. Instruction is split between Spanish and English, and students are encouraged to develop literacy and proficiency in both languages. 

The district also offers a FLES (Foreign Language Early Start) after-school program to help elementary students learn French, Italian, or Spanish.

Bedford Central School District (Mount Kisco, NY)

Mount Kisco Elementary School has a dual-language program using a 50-50 immersion model. Students enrolled in the dual language program follow the same curriculum as students in all Bedford Central School District elementary schools, but the classes are taught in Spanish and English. Native speakers of both languages learn together, which helps all students become multilingual. 

NEW JERSEY 

New Brunswick Public Schools (New Brunswick, NJ)

This New Jersey school district has a Spanish-English dual language program from preK to 5th grade. Classes follow a 50-50 language allocation model to help students develop bilingual language skills while learning all of the grade-level material that non-multilingual students cover.

Jersey City Public Schools (Jersey City, NJ)

Based on an annual lottery system, Jersey City’s dual Spanish-English language program is available to preK students. If selected, the program continues through 5th grade. Bilingual teachers conduct classes in both languages to encourage students to become bilingual and bi-literate. 

Englewood Public Schools (Englewood, NJ)

Englewood Public School students can opt into the dual-language Spanish-English program starting in kindergarten. The program employs teachers who are native English speakers, native Spanish speakers, and multilingual speakers. Students can continue in the program until 5th grade. While not offered as immersion programs, French, Spanish, and Mandarin world language courses are available to older students in the district.

Morris Plains School District (Morris Plains, NJ)

The elementary Spanish-English bilingual program at the Morris Plains School District uses an asset-based model that builds on a student’s foundational language from K-5th grade. Students in this program take a daily Spanish language arts course and a daily English language arts course. Bilingual teachers lead math, literacy, and social studies classes.

Students can continue the bilingual learning program in middle and high school. They will be placed in a bilingual program that matches their level of bilingual language development.

Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (Hoboken, NJ)

The Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HoLa) is a free public Spanish-English school that offers bilingual education from kindergarten to 8th grade. This innovative school opened in 2010 and provides admissions based on a lottery system. Students admitted to the charter school follow a rigorous academic program. In early elementary schools, lessons are primarily conducted in Spanish, and the model shifts to a 50-50 program by 4th grade.

The school also leads a Spanish immersion summer camp called Aventuras Veraniegas. The language immersion camp exposes students to Latin American cultures and includes local field trips.

Princeton Public Schools (Princeton, NJ)

Princeton Public School students can join the dual language program in kindergarten or 1st grade. This Spanish-English program follows a 50-50 model: math, science, and Spanish language arts and cultures classes are taught in Spanish, while language arts, social studies, PE, music, and library classes are taught in English.

CONNECTICUT 

Stamford Public Schools (Stamford, CT)

Stamford Public School announced a new dual language program starting in Fall 2024. The new Spanish-English program would begin in kindergarten, allowing students to learn a new language while also building language skills in the first language.  

Silvermine Dual Language Magnet School (Norwalk, CT)

Silvermine Dual Language Magnet School is part of the Norwalk Public School District. Students attending this magnet school are part of an inclusive community that values diversity and kindness. Starting in kindergarten, students are immersed in English and Spanish. After graduating from Silvermine, students can continue to take dual language courses at West Rocks Middle School.

North Shore School District (Glen Head and Sea Cliff, NY)

Starting in preK, North School School District students spend half of the year learning Mandarin and the other half learning Spanish. Then, in 3rd grade, kids can choose to stick with one or the other. The curriculum was developed by ACTFL National World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages.

Although these are not full language immersion courses, they allow young students to develop global awareness and a basic understanding of Mandarin or Spanish. Students can continue with these two languages in middle and high school or switch to French, Italian, Latin, and more. 

Whether it’s finding the right language immersion program or another key priority, make sure you land in a town that checks all of your boxes. Connect with a Suburban Jungle Strategist today to get started. 

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