SLLIS' Dual Language Immersion Program

What is SLLIS' Dual Language Program?

SLLIS implements the Gomez and Gomez Dual Language Enrichment Model, which is a structured way to provide rigorous dual language instruction at the elementary level. The philosophy of this model is to provide instruction in two languages at a “gifted and talented” level of rigor to all students, therefore putting students on the path to academic biliteracy.

What are the Strengths of Dual Language at SLLIS?

First and foremost, the Gomez and Gomez Model provides clarity and consistency surrounding language and how it is taught at SLLIS. Teachers know exactly what language they should use for all instruction and how many minutes are allotted to each subject area each day.

The Gomez and Gomez Model also places a strong emphasis on collaboration between students. Throughout the day students will work in “bilingual pairs” to provide “parallel effort” towards their learning goals. They will learn how to work closely with their peers and will ultimately reach a much deeper level of learning when they are in situations where they can help instruct their classmates through this collaborative work.

The model also provides specific guidelines for highly effective instructional strategies and rigor surrounding lesson planning and execution, and it comes with a heavy emphasis on writing across the curriculum. This means that students will spend a great deal of time working on their writing skills - both in English and in L2 - even as they study Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies.

Click here to see sample dual language schedules for SLLIS students.

How is the Model Structured?

One of the most important components of the Gomez and Gomez Dual Language Enrichment Model is the Language of Instruction (LOI). In the French and Spanish programs, English Language Arts and Math are taught in English. Science, Social Studies, and L2 Language Arts are taught in the target language. In the Chinese program, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies are taught in English, and L2 Language Arts and Math are taught in Chinese.

While the Gomez and Gomez Model is structured to place a heavy emphasis on English Language Arts in the early years and a balance between English and the target language throughout the elementary years, academic language is not the only thing that students need to learn in order to be bilingual. In order to help students develop conversational, colloquial language, the Gomez and Gomez Model also utilizes the “Language of the Day” (LOD). This means that the entire campus makes an effort to speak either English or the target language on designated days - on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the Language of the Day is French, Spanish, or Chinese. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Language of the Day is English.

The Language of the Day does not change the Language of Instruction, but it does change the language used for everyday interactions at school - recess, lunch, informal conversations - to the greatest extent possible. Even our staff members who don’t speak the target language at all will be making an effort to use the Language of the Day as much as they can! When you visit you will see Language of the Day signs reminding staff, students, and visitors what language to use.

How Did SLLIS Become a Dual Language School?

The leadership team and Board at SLLIS had been studying potential instructional models over the past several years. The Gomez and Gomez model quickly surfaced as a highly effective model that is being implemented in many public schools across the United States that are comparable to SLLIS. During the 2017-2018 school year, the Board, the leadership team, the staff, and the larger community learned more about this model, and the Board voted to approve the Gomez and Gomez Dual Language Enrichment Model on February 21, 2018.

Why Dual Language?

Research shows that students must have a solid foundation in their native language before being able to access higher-level skills in a second language, and the Gomez and Gomez Model is founded on decades of research in this area. This research shows that students will reach even higher levels of learning in both English and L2 as a result of this research-based model.