Downes Elementary School offers language immersion in Mandarin Chinese for Kindergarten through 5th-grade students as part of a statewide Dual Language Immersion Program. The program was implemented at Downes Elementary in the 2013-2014 school year.
This is an elementary immersion program, where students learn academic content through a second language. They learn the second language by encountering and using the language in multiple meaningful contexts. For example, students will have reading instruction in English but may have instruction in math and other subjects in Mandarin Chinese. Students will spend half of the school day immersed in English instruction, and half of the day in Chinese. Classes will have two teachers, one for each language, and will coexist with traditional instruction.
Students will be able to continue their immersion experience through elementary school and into middle school.
Students have the unique opportunity to become highly proficient in Chinese or Spanish by participating in an elementary language immersion program. The immersion program begins in kindergarten and participating families are asked to make a long-term, multi-year commitment to immersion education. At the middle and high school levels, students continue in the study of their target language and may have the opportunity to begin the study of an additional world language.
In grades K-5, Elementary Immersion students spend 50% of their instructional day learning in their immersion language. They learn math, science, and language arts in the immersion language from one teacher and learn social studies and English language arts from another. They acquire a broad base of content area knowledge and language across the elementary program. This provides them with a strong foundation in language and content as they move into the middle grades.
In grades 6-8, Middle School Immersion Continuation students deepen their immersion language skills and cultural competencies. Each year, they take an advanced-level immersion language course designed to develop greater precision in the immersion and prepare them for their high school immersion language courses. They also take their social studies class each year in the immersion language, which provides them with rich opportunities to engage in cross-cultural discussions. Approximately 30% of a student’s day is spent learning in the immersion language.
High School Immersion Continuation programs provide a variety of options for students to continue to strengthen their language proficiency while applying their learning in real-world academic and career contexts. In grade 9, High School Immersion Continuation students have the opportunity to take the AP Language and Culture course in their immersion language if they are ready to do so. Successful completion of AP allows students to continue into the Bridge Program. Students are well-positioned to earn the Delaware Certificate of Multiliteracy in their ninth grade year.
In grades 10-12, immersion continuation students are able to participate in Bridge Program opportunities. In Delaware, a Bridge Program is any course offering that provides students with opportunities to extend their immersion language and content knowledge into college and work environments. Delaware Bridge Programs may include dual-credit/dual-enrollment courses with the University of Delaware or Delaware State University or immersion-specific career pathways.
School Choice allows for a parent/legal guardian residing within Delaware may apply to enroll their child in a public school in any school district, charter school, magnet school, or vocational-technical school, regardless of the student’s area of residence.
More than forty years of research documents the power of immersion education to help students attain high levels of world language proficiency. Apply to our Chinese Immersion Program today!
Please note: Kindergarten School Choice applications are accepted until the first day of school for the 2023-2024 school year.
(limited seating for grades 1-5 based on previous language knowledge and background)
The Chinese Immersion Program at Downes Elementary School is open to students entering Kindergarten with limited capacity available for grades 1-5. To apply: