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Dual Language Program

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Dual Language Program Vision


Summit School District’s vision for Dual Language program is based on guidance from Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and grounded in the principles of additive bilingualism and cultural pluralism. This approach views multilingualism and multiculturalism as resources within our schools and communities. Dual Language education fosters high levels of academic achievement through instruction in two languages, awareness and appreciation for multilingualism and multiculturalism, and promotes biliteracy.  

CDE has identified goals for dual language immersion education:
  • High levels of academic achievement in 2 languages
  • Bilingualism and biliteracy
  • Encompasses culturally responsive learning environments that value inclusivity, equity and the differences of all students and the surrounding communities
  • Develops students to be adaptive, open-minded, culturally competent and globally aware
  • Dual Language Immersion enhances the development of content in two languages, as well as literacy in both languages so that students will graduate ready for college, career, and life in a globally competitive economy and a collaborative international community. This unique program builds students’ linguistic skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in both languages. Students learn standards-based content as they become linguistically and academically proficient in two languages.


CDE Dual Language Program Guidance

Dual Language Program Models

At Summit School District, students may experience Dual Language (DL) instruction throughout their K-12 education. Two elementary schools offer Dual Language Immersion instruction where 50% of the instruction is in English and 50% in Spanish for all students. In the middle and high schools, a variety of courses are available in Spanish, taught by licensed and multilingual SSD teachers. Students may opt to have up to 40% of their daily instruction in Spanish depending on course availability.


DVE Logo

Dillon Valley Elementary

Dillon Valley Elementary hosts Summit School District’s flagship Dual Language (DL) program, established in 2005. The vision is to create bilingual, bicultural learners who also develop cross-cultural competency and grade-level academic proficiency in both languages. At Dillon Valley, we adhere to the research that demonstrates the social and cognitive benefits of multilingualism and infuse the curriculum with hands-on, real world applications in and outside of the classroom that motivate students to use language in authentic situations. All grades K-5 participate in the DL program, and students receive instruction 50% in English and 50% in Spanish for academic content areas such as Literacy, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Teachers intentionally collaborate learning across English and Spanish, and facilitate “bridging time” where students make connections and bridge their understanding across languages. Additionally, students reinforce their learning of a second language through daily lessons, called Sube Tu Nivel (Raise Your Level). These interactive lessons further develop academic vocabulary and everyday language through stories, songs, and games. Our Dual Language program is connected with the International Baccalaureate program to develop students that are active community members and participate in the world around them intentionally in two languages.   


Silverthorne School

Silverthorne Elementary

At Silverthorne Elementary, students in the Dual Language (DL) program have 50% of their instruction in English and 50% in Spanish every day across subjects including Literacy, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Music, PE, and Outdoor Education classes are also taught in Spanish and English.  Instruction in each subject builds across both languages, so students are always progressing, rather than duplicating, their learning. Typically, students have 2 teachers who use a strong co-planning model to ensure student success in subject areas where academic components are addressed in English and Spanish. Students at Silverthorne Elementary develop Literacy using a curriculum designed for DL instruction:  Wonders (taught in English) and Maravillas (taught in Spanish). Through this model, students learn English Language Arts and Spanish Language Arts and are developing the foundations for biliteracy. Beginning school year 2022-2023, all grade levels (K-5) at Silverthorne participate in the Dual Language program.


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Summit Middle School

At Summit Middle School (SMS), students in the Dual Language program have an extended (block) class that embeds Design Thinking into Spanish Language Arts. In this course, offered every other day throughout the school year, students develop their skills in Spanish across the domains of Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. The course is immersive, almost all instruction is in Spanish. Design Thinking (previously taught as a separate course) engages students in applied problem solving while deepening their use of Spanish. Students explore problems, either connected to Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM), or within their communities, and design solutions. This collaborative inquiry process creates authentic opportunities for students to apply their Spanish language and communication skills to real world situations.

SMS is proud to welcome any student into the Dual Language (DL) program. It is not required that students have prior DL experience or enter middle school as a Spanish speaker. The school day is organized in a way that ensures students who receive special services (including Special Education, English Language Acquisition, or Gifted/Talented) or academic interventions are able to fully participate in the Dual Language program without a disruption to their services. The DL program is available at SMS in grades 6-8.


SHS Logo

Summit High School

The Dual Language (DL) program culminates at Summit High School (SHS) in carefully crafted experiences that promote bilingualism and multiculturalism and serve as a capstone for the district’s DL program. At SHS, students continue their study of Spanish through four years of world language, including two years of International Baccalaureate Diploma Level Spanish courses. In addition to Spanish language courses, other academic and elective courses are available where the instruction and content are fully delivered in Spanish or 50% Spanish and 50% English. Students in the DL program complete a total of 4 year-long Spanish courses, 1 year-long Civics/Economy course, and 2 semester-long electives where the instruction is provided entirely or partially in Spanish. While these courses are subject to change based on student interests and staff qualifications, typical courses offered include: Civics and Economics, Latin American Studies, Mariachi, Welding, and Construction Technology.

To demonstrate multiculturalism, students also engage within the community outside of school through immersion experiences or service opportunities. Students can provide community service through volunteering at other schools (e.g. elementary schools), SHS activities and family outreach events, and community events such as Spanish Literacy Nights hosted by public libraries. At these types of events, SHS students in the Dual Language program can serve as school tour guides for Spanish-speaking students and families, read in Spanish at literacy events, and provide bilingual childcare. Students who complete the Dual Language program are eligible for a DL designation on their diploma and are encouraged to apply for Colorado’s Seal of Biliteracy. These designations indicate that students are bilingual and biliterate, and as such, may be exempted from college and university world language requirements or receive preferential treatment for career and workforce readiness.