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Dual Language Program


To empower students as they become, bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural.


Provide equal access to educational excellence while promoting linguistic and cultural pride, self-confidence and happy, productive world citizens.

50/50 Model

Alvarado offers a 50/50 dual language program for students in grades K-5. Students spend 50% of their time learning in Spanish and 50% of their time learning in English. In Dual Language classrooms, about half of the students have English as their home language and about half have Spanish as their home language. This is known as a two-way bilingual emersion program. This model allows students to learn from one another as well as his or her teacher.

Dual Language Curriculum

Every teacher must follow the curriculum guidelines for every subject as set forth in the APS Standards. The only difference in the dual language classrooms is that the teacher and students are doing all of this in two languages.

Guided Language Acquisition and Design (GLAD) Model

GLAD instructional strategies link instruction in the content areas of Science and Social Studies with Language Arts instruction. A GLAD unit includes a myriad of sheltering strategies and uses multiple learning styles to facilitate development of academic language and content knowledge around a specific topic or theme. GLAD instructional strategies promote second language acquisition, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills. Almost all of the teachers at our school have been trained in GLAD. Planning and collaborating on the creation of GLAD units is part of the professional culture of Alvarado Elementary.

For more information please visit the Project Glad website:

Benefits of Dual Language

  • Higher test scores! Research shows that, with a long-term commitment, bilingual students score higher than peers learning in one language.
  • Greater cognitive development! Research also indicates that Dual Language learning develops un-activated brain areas, increasing creativity, intellectual flexibility, and problem-solving skills.
  • Better job opportunities! A person who speaks, reads, and writes in two languages has access to more career possibilities in the United States and in the world.
  • Stronger cultural identity! Students can communicate with family and community members who do not speak English. Students understand and value their own culture and other cultures better.
  • Greater school success! As shown by research, bilingual students ultimately experience greater success in school.

Quick Q & A

Does it work?

Yes, definitely! Bilingual students generally achieve at or above grade level in BOTH languages. Benefits are generally witnessed upon 2-3 solid years in a dual-language program. Successful dual-language programs require a solid commitment of 5-6 years.

But don’t they fall behind if they’re not already bilingual?

No, that’s the beauty of it. Teachers use a variety of methods called “sheltering techniques” to help children understand who are working in their second language. Again, the children aren’t able to show all that they’re learning until they begin to master their second language, which takes several years.

How long does it take?

It takes most people 5-7 years to become ‘fully fluent’ in a second language, and children are no different. The fact that children often pick up ‘playground’ or social language quickly has led to the false belief that it only takes about a year to become fluent in another language. What we want and expect of our dual language students is the ability to not just speak informally, but read, write and study at high levels in both their languages. This is what takes 5-7 years, and is why we require a long-term commitment from our families.

Why should I put my already bilingual child in Dual Language?

Research indicates that bilingual students score higher on state tests than Spanish speaking students in English mainstream classes. Dual language programs connect students to their heritage language and culture, developing pride in their bilingual and bicultural identity. Dual language programs show higher student engagement and interest in school, as shown by on research.