What is a dual language program?

Dual Language education is an effective approach to developing language proficiency and literacy in English and a partner language. In District 96, we are implementing a Spanish/English Dual Language program. Approximately 50 percent of the students in the classes will come from homes in which Spanish is spoken and approximately 50 percent of the class will have little to no experience with the Spanish language. All participating students will be receiving instruction in Spanish and English. Fifty percent of the academic day will be delivered in Spanish and 50 percent of the academic day will be delivered in English. That model will remain the same for grades KDG through 5. (In another FAQ, we discuss what middle school options potentially could look like in the future.)

Where will the dual language program be housed?

  • Kindergarten is housed at Willow Grove Early Learning Center, 777 Checker Drive, Buffalo Grove.
  • Grades 1-5 are housed at Country Meadows Elementary School, 6360 Gilmer Road, Long Grove.
  • Grades 6-8 are housed at Woodlawn Middle School, 6362 Gilmer Road, Long Grove.

Can students from across the District participate?

We will host a lottery to allow students from across the District access to this program.
Lottery details can be found listed later in this FAQ.

How will a 50/50 program operate?

We will open two new dual langauge kindergarten classes each school year. For the two classrooms, one of the teachers will be Spanish-speaking and the other will be English-speaking. The teachers will change classes — thus switching the language of instruction — halfway through the day. The class size will be very close to our current kindergarten sections.

At the kindergarten level, each dual language student would participate in approximately 90 minutes of academic instruction in English and 90 minutes of academic instruction in Spanish. The intervention block — Playful Learning, which is also experienced at the kindergarten level — is designated to be hosted in either language, so the team of teachers would be expected to identify the interventions or extensions that Dual Language students might need in either language and flexibly mix those students between the two classes to meet each student’s academic growth needs.

The intervention/Playful Learning block is not designated to one language, but the expectation is that the co-teachers will use that time flexibly to attend to the needs of all the students. Because the length of the school day increases in Grade 1 and above, academic instructional time will increase, as well. Students in Grades 1–5 will then receive 120 minutes of instruction in Spanish and 120 minutes of instruction in English.  

Can students who are not yet English proficient participate in the program, as well as students who have special needs or IEPs?

Absolutely!  We would not discriminate against any student having the ability of potentially participating in this program.

Will transportation be provided for Dual Language students?

All Willow Grove students have free bus transportation. This will apply for Dual Language program participants, as well.

For 1st-8th grades, we plan to offer transportation to families interested in being part of the lottery and potentially part of the Dual Language program. We do not want to limit the possibilities of students participating, based on parents’ schedules or their ability to get their student to school.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Transportation times will vary, based on where in the District a student lives.

How will the Dual Language program be administered in middle school?

While the specifics for our middle school model are still being developed, we do know that middle school Dual Language students will participate in a Spanish Language Arts course as well as additional instruction in another subject area. The goal is to maintain — as closely as possible—the level of 120 daily minutes of instruction in Spanish that the students will receive at the elementary level.

Has there been collaboration with Stevenson High School about this program?

Collaboration around Dual Language program development is ongoing with Stevenson staff. They are enthusiastic about the potential to receive District 96 Dual Language students. In Illinois, we afford a Seal of Biliteracy on student diplomas that demonstrates the student’s proficiency in English and a language other than English, as well as meeting specific academic criteria. The Dual Language program is one means to increase the number of students who could receive a Seal of Biliteracy. Additionally, SHS is committed to creating and maintaining multilingual learners who are well-equipped to compete in the global marketplace.

What are the Dual Language program lottery date/details?

Families interested in enrolling their incoming kindergartner in the Spanish/English Dual Language Program can indicate so on the registration form while completing the kindergarten registration process that begins March 1, 2024.  This process should be completed by April 15, 2024, to be entered into the Dual Language Lottery.  Please note that indicating interest in the Dual Language Program does not guarantee acceptance into the Dual Language program.  

The public Dual Language Lottery will be hosted virtually at 6 p.m. on May 1, 2024.  Confirmation emails and lottery details will be sent to parents who have indicated interest through the registration process.

The names of students not selected for immediate entrance into the program due to capacity will be placed on a waiting list based in the order in which their names were drawn in the lottery.  All names received will be drawn to determine the waiting list order.