Dual Immersion Program In Salt Lake City

How great would it be if the linguistic diversity present in the US was used for good rather than considered a problem to be solved? I recently came across the story of the Dual Immersion Academy, which is a charter school located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s aptly named as its goal is to capitalize on this linguistic diversity and give native speakers of both Spanish and English the opportunity not only to learn, but to receive their education in, each others’ languages. I don’t know the details of how it works and presume there would be, at the beginning at least, some form of explicit language teaching…but the gist of it is that half the classes are taught in English and half in Spanish.

The one challenge facing the academy?

They need more Spanish-speaking students. This is not because parents don’t want their children to learn English – just the opposite: apparently many have internalized the message that preserving their language in their children is a bad thing.

One more thing that struck me as unusual about the Dual Immersion Academy is that as a charter school it is still considered public and free – and apparently because it is a charter school, school district boundaries do not limit who can attend. (Read what I did on Wikipedia). I also realize that “standard” public schools can not actively recruit students based on their native language to ensure they have a linguistic balance to facilitate dual immersion, but I’m curious to know whether such programs exist in public schools – and what role ESL teachers may play in them.