Spanish/English Dual Language Program

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  • Gaiser Middle School, Spanish/English Dual Language
  • photo: dual language
  • Gaiser Middle School, Spanish/English Dual Language
  • photo: dual language

The Spanish/English Dual Language Program is a challenging academic program designed to provide instruction to students in two languages—English and Spanish. The goal is to develop literacy in both languages.

Each of the dual-language classrooms is comprised of approximately half Spanish-speaking and half English-speaking students. Approximately 50 percent of the curriculum is taught in each language.

Dual language instruction continues with classes at Gaiser Middle School and rigorous classes for freshmen through seniors in the Spanish language pathway at the Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies.

Students throughout Vancouver Public Schools may apply.

At the elementary level, there is a balance of both Spanish and English instruction throughout the school day to facilitate early Spanish and English language acquisition and literacy development.

As the program transitions to the secondary level, students receive two periods of instruction in Spanish. The remainder of instruction during the school day will be in English.

Program goals

  • Obtain high levels of achievement in all academic subjects
  • Achieve bilingualism and biliteracy of participating students
  • Foster and promote cultural diversity and respect among all students
  • Bilingual students generally demonstrate greater academic gains.
    Research shows that students in language immersion programs typically develop strong academic skills in addition to becoming proficient in both languages.
  • Students have the opportunity to achieve bilingualism and biliteracy in Spanish and English.
    Students learn languages more easily at an early age. Immersing and instructing students in the second language provides an effective setting for students to learn to speak, read and write fluently in both languages by fifth grade.
  • Students develop cultural literacy as well as enhanced cognitive skills.
    Language immersion students benefit from the ability to communicate with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. They also typically experience academic achievement at or above their single-language peers. Research covering more than 40 years of language immersion instruction shows that students receive a variety of cognitive benefits such as mental flexibility, nonverbal problem-solving abilities and enhanced critical thinking skills.
To ensure achievement and success for students in the Dual Language Program, it is necessary for families to commit to the program for a minimum of six years (kindergarten through fifth grade). Active parent support is extremely important to the long-term success of the program.

Interested families are required to attend one of the Parent Information Meetings offered at the school prior to submitting an application for the program. Families must complete and submit an application for their child. Applications will be available at Sarah J. Anderson Elementary and online. Applications must be submitted to Anderson Elementary by the deadline to be entered into the lottery. (If there are more applicants than spaces in the program, students will be selected through a lottery process.)

Students residing within the school boundaries of Anderson Elementary will be placed in the first lottery drawing. The second drawing will be for students outside of the school’s boundary, but within the Vancouver Public Schools’ boundaries. The third drawing will be for students outside of Vancouver Public Schools (per district regulations). All applicants will be notified of the lottery outcome.

Parents of students outside of school boundaries who are selected for this program will be required to provide their own transportation to and from school.

Once students are admitted to the program, they will have continued placement in the program each year without having to reapply. Students on the waiting list will not be carried over from last year’s list. Annual renewal of boundary exceptions for students living outside Sarah J. Anderson boundaries is required.

Siblings of students admitted to the program are not guaranteed placement in the program, nor are they given preference on a waiting list based on their sibling’s admission to the program. Parents may apply for a boundary exception for a sibling to attend Anderson Elementary. Regular boundary exception policies apply (Regulation 5115, sections II–V).


Katie Arkoosh, principalSarah J. Anderson Elementary School
2215 NE 104th St., Vancouver, WA 98686
Mike Lane, principalGaiser Middle School
3000 NE 99th St., Vancouver, WA 98665
Jody ViDelco, principalFort Vancouver High School
5700 E. 18th St., Vancouver, WA 98661
Allison DarkeResource coordinator

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