Immersion Program FAQs
What is an immersion program?
Dual-language immersion is a way to learn academic content while acquiring another language at the same time. Students receive math, science, or social studies instruction in another language during the day. Because of the teaching strategies used, the students learn the concepts and skills for the subject area and develop the ability to read, write, speak, and listen in another language: Spanish.
The goals are for the students to develop literacy skills in both English and Spanish while attaining academic achievement that is at or above their grade level. Additionally, students develop a global understanding of the world by participating in the program.
What would my child’s day look like?
Students in a dual-language immersion program experience elementary school like any other student in Olathe. The difference is that half of their instructional day will be in English and the other half will be in Spanish. Your child will have two teachers during the day, one teacher who will teach the Olathe curriculum in English and another teacher who will teach in Spanish.
Why should my child participate in an immersion program?
Research shows that students who take part in an immersion classroom consistently develop native-like levels of comprehension, such as listening and reading skills, in their second language. They also display fluency and confidence when using it that they can hopefully take through the rest of their lives.
Does my child already need to know Spanish?
No. This program assumes that your child does not have any Spanish-language background. The goal of the dual-language immersion program is to teach your child Spanish throughout their elementary experience. If your child already has a background with the Spanish language, great. However, the majority of the students in the program will come with no Spanish background.
Who can participate?
The Olathe Dual-Language Immersion Program seeks to enroll students from varying backgrounds and all abilities. Applications are open to all students in the Olathe School District entering kindergarten for the following school year.
What schools offer the immersion program?
Black Bob and Manchester Park elementary schools each have two kindergarten sections designated as immersion.
How can I get my child into one of the immersion classrooms?
Incoming Olathe kindergarten students interested in being a part of the immersion program will enter an application into a lottery system on the district website during the lottery window. Parents can only fill out one application for one of the immersion schools. Some spots will be saved for students living in the elementary attendance areas of Black Bob and Manchester Park and other spots will be open to other Olathe School District families wanting to transfer into the program from other attendance areas.
Parents should complete kindergarten enrollment for their student at the school in their home attendance area. If your student is selected via the lottery system and you accept that placement, the school will take care of transferring the registration to the immersion site.
Is there a cost for parents?
There is no additional cost for the immersion program beyond the yearly Olathe School District instructional fees that all students pay.
Will transportation be provided?
No, students who are selected in the lottery for one of the immersion programs and live outside the attendance areas must provide their own transportation to school.
How long does my child stay in the immersion program?
Students who are accepted by the lottery system into the immersion program in kindergarten will have special programming all the way through high school graduation. They will receive instruction in Spanish and English starting in elementary school and will continue through middle and high school. The percentage of their instructional day in English and Spanish will vary slightly by grade.
What will my child’s day look like in middle and high school if they continue in the immersion program?
Students who have been in the immersion program in elementary school will have some special classes designed for them in order to continue to build their Spanish-language proficiency. The courses will focus on advanced content such as Advanced Placement (AP) and courses that investigate career terminology and interpreting skills. However, most of their school day in middle and high school will be spent in classes with their non-immersion peers.
How quickly will my student learn Spanish?
Every student will progress at a different rate regarding language acquisition. However, it is normal for students’ receptive language to develop at a quicker pace than their productive language. This means that your child will be able to understand and respond to their teachers in Spanish before they will be able to produce spontaneous language. Every day that a student is in the immersion classroom listening and interacting with the Spanish language their proficiency will be growing. Read our PDF document for additional information regarding students’ language proficiencies.