AllentownSchool District

Allentown School District Brings Immersive Dual Language Opportunities to PreK-5

Allentown School District Brings Immersive Dual Language Opportunities to PreK-5
Posted on 03/12/2024

ALLENTOWN, PA – On Thursday, March 7, 2024 the Allentown School District School Board of Directors approved the Dual Language Immersion Academy, which introduces a split instruction model providing instruction in English and Spanish. The school will begin with PreK-1 and expand to Grade 5 in the coming years using a theme-based model based on successful Dual Language Immersion schools across the country.

The Dual Language Immersion Academy will prepare students for life in a multilingual world through daily engagement and opportunities to learn and develop proficiency in both Spanish and English. Students exposed to learning two languages at an early age on average outperform those taught in one language in cognitive function in adolescence and adulthood. 

“The Allentown School District is creating theme-based schools as a part of an unwavering commitment to equity, through the expansion of choice in education,” said Allentown School District Superintendent/ Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Carol D. Birks. “This commitment is not just about offering alternatives; it's about championing equity. The students who attend this school will also develop the ability to read and think in more than one language while promoting higher levels of abstract thought which is crucial in learning.”

Theme-based schools such as the Dual Language Immersion Academy and STREAM Academy at The Da Vinci Center are designed to provide a pathway to success that recognizes and values each student’s individual journey, ultimately paving the way for a more inclusive and promising future.

Continued efforts to increase equity and access for all students, the District will also begin the expansion of its World Languages Program. The language immersion model introduces students to world languages at the elementary level rather than the current process of waiting until middle school. 

As proposed, the Allentown School District Dual Language Academy will be housed in the current Secondary Newcomer Academy School. Students who remain a part of the Newcomer Academy Program will then relocate to the Elementary Newcomer Academy, which is closer to many students’ home schools.

All Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten parents will be invited to learn about the Allentown School District’s Dual Language Academy at an informational session at the student’s home schools. Interested families can then apply to the program. If chosen the students will be evaluated to determine their home language. Families will sign a letter of commitment and pledge to support the program goals throughout their student’s educational journey.