Spanish Immersion

In the United States alone, Spanish speakers make up more than 14 percent of the population. 
César Chávez Elementary School Spanish Immersion program helps students become confident Spanish speakers while developing biliteracy-- the ability speak, read, and write in both English and Spanish by the end of 6th grade. 

Research suggests that students in immersion programs generally achieve high levels of second language proficiency, gain communicative skills and cultural understanding and achieve as well or better than non-immersion peers on standardized assessments.

Our Immersion Model

The model for foreign language immersion programs in the United States originated in Canada during the 1960s with French immersion programs. Students are "immersed" in a second language, by receiving academic instruction in the target language, rather than studying the language itself. Acquisition of the language is a natural outcome of hearing and using the language while gaining academic skills in the content curriculum areas.

In our immersion program, teachers present the regular curriculum nearly 100% in the immersion language in the early years and gradually introduce English incrementally as students progress through the grades in the following way:

Kindergarten and First grade have 100% Spanish instruction,
Second grade is 90% Spanish and 10% English,
Third grade is 80% Spanish and  20% English,
Fourth grade is 75 % Spanish and 25% English, and
Fifth and Sixth grades  grades are  70% Spanish and 30% English. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


How proficient will my child become in the second language?
Students in immersion programs become fluent and confident in the second language after only 2 to 3 years in the immersion program. Listening and reading skills are similar to those of native speakers of the same age. However, students’ speaking and writing skills fall short of those of native speakers. Immersion students’ second language lacks the grammatical accuracy, the variety and complexity one would find in native speakers of the language. Achieving high levels of oral and written proficiency in a second language is a long-term process. Our goal is to help students achieve biliteracy through their time at CCE and in DJUSD.
How long would it take to achieve native-like proficiency?
Near-native proficiency in the second language in every skill area is unlikely. Nevertheless, immersion students will have a strong base for further language development, including acquisition of subsequent languages.

Many factors influence language acquisition, including the personality and motivation of the student, expectations of teachers, parental support, program leadership, and support at both the school and district level. All of these factors contribute to student success.
How can I support my child’s in immersion if I don’t speak the second language?
It is important for parents to provide experiences that help develop the student's English language skills as well as reinforce cognitive and academic skills. Reading to the student daily and engaging in activities that apply what is being taught in the classroom are invaluable.
May I volunteer at school?
Parent participation at school is encouraged and appreciated. Care should be taken that parent involvement in the classroom not inhibit the child's use of the language. There are many other areas in which to make meaningful contributions to the school outside of the classroom. Learn more at our Volunteers page.