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Frequency Asked Questions

Dual Language FAQ


What are the benefits of a Dual Language program?


  • Increase cognitive flexibility that results in higher-order thinking, problem-solving abilities, multitasking, creativity and focusing skills.
  • Enriches and enhances a child’s mental development.
  • Improves a child’s understanding of his/her native language.
  • Students graduate their programs being bilingual, biliterate in two languages.
  • Develop intercultural competence; they learn to use language appropriately in different cultural contexts.  
  • Students become adept at accepting and appreciating others’ differences.
  • Gives a student a head start in language requirements for college.
  • Increases job opportunities in many careers.



What is the instructional model of Dual Language that is used?


K-5 Implements a 50-50 model


  • Monday thru Friday, students spend 50% of their day immersed in English and 50% of their day immersed in Spanish.


  • Instruction is delivered in only one language at a time without translation.



  • Two-teacher model:  Teacher A delivers instruction in English and Teacher B in Spanish.  Both share two classes and students switch classes in the middle of the day.



  • Based on enrollment, one teacher model may be implemented. The same teacher delivers a half day of instruction in English and the other half of the day in Spanish.


  • Literacy and academic content are taught daily in English and Spanish.


  • In K-1, the language of instruction that each student begins his or her day rotates each day. The students will begin their day with the same teacher they ended the previous day.  This eliminates the need for an extra transition as well gives evenly divides the afternoon specials from both English and Spanish.

  • Students participate in the following special area classes weekly, Art, Music, P.E., Library and Computers.

  • ELA and Math WIN (What I Need) will take place during the scheduled English portion of each subject area.




What is the instruction like?

Teachers will:

  • Utilize whole class instruction, small group instruction, and cooperative learning groups.
  • Follow instructional minutes for their content area
  • Provide academic challenges for all students.
  • Expect students to demonstrate progress towards their target level in Spanish.
  • Conduct formative and summative assessments in both English and Spanish in grades K-6 to measure progress towards content and language standards.
  • Collaborate with grade level teams and continue their professional development to provide the best education possible to their students.


What type of curriculum is used?


Gilbert Public Schools Dual Language program uses the Arizona State Standards (https://goo.gl/eCsjU)and the Arizona World and Native Language Standards (https://goo.gl/cyr74G). Curriculum materials for each subject area are adopted by the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board. We use Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) and Learning A-Z for Spanish Instruction.


Gilbert Elementary uses SeeSaw as a digital portfolio where students can upload artifacts to their SeeSaw portfolio.  Students use this app to record evidence of the key academic skill they are working towards. SeeSaw has a parent component where parents will be able to view their child’s uploads and share in the progress and accomplishments of their child.  Students will post a minimum of 6 per quarter.

How are students assessed to measure Spanish proficiency?

All students participate in District and State assessments according to the Gilbert Public Schools assessment calendar. In addition, students enrolled in Dual Language program in grades 3 thru 5 participate in the Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages AAPPL (https://aappl.actfl.org/) to measure students’ language proficiency levels in Spanish.

What is the enrollment process?

The Dual Language program accepts all students who apply to the program regardless of residency.  Open enrollment information is available by calling Michelle Martinez at 480-892-8624 or michelle.martinez@gilbertschools.net. See below for admission and registration requirements.

  • Students whose primary language is other than English must receive a proficient score on the listening and speaking sections of the Arizona English Language Learners Assessment (AZELLA).
  • Students entering in second grade without a previous enrollment in a dual language class have admission contingent on work habits, attendance, previous grades and teacher recommendation.
  • Students entering after completion of 2nd grade will be administered a Spanish proficiency screener to determine eligibility.



Students can be admitted into the Dual Language program by:

  • Enrolling in Dual Language Kindergarten or first grade and maintaining that enrollment throughout their K-6 experience, or
  • Transferring from another Dual Language program, or
  • Passing the Gilbert Elementary Spanish proficiency screener after 2nd grade.


New Registration:

  • Applications will be accepted in the order they are received.
  • Out of boundary students will need to complete an Open Enrollment Application.
  • Students within Gilbert Elementary boundaries will have first priority.
  • Students will be placed on a wait-list once capacity is reached.


Where can I find more information about Dual Language?


Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL):



American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL): http://tinyurl.com/zttabwz



Is the Dual Language program the same as a bilingual program?

The Dual Language program is a bilingual program.  Bilingual education is the umbrella term for different types of language programs.  The Dual Language program focuses on developing language proficiency and literacy in English and a partner language.


Is there a fee to enroll my child?

The Gilbert Public Schools Dual Language program is free.


Are there gifted/resource services?

Yes, services are provided according to Gilbert Public School policies.  Please follow the links for more information.


Gifted Education www.gilbertschools.net

Special Education www.gilbertschools.net


How can I help my child at home if I do not speak Spanish?

Students can use resources provided by the teacher.  The children will have a password assigned to them to access our Kids A-Z curriculum website for lessons and assignments taught in class.  We encourage all parents to expose their children to Spanish at home by watching movies, listening to music and books in Spanish.  Use time at home to also reinforce the native language.


Will my child still have specials or electives?

All elementary students have the opportunity to participate in Art, Music, Library, Technology and P.E. on a five-day rotating cycle.


Is there a Parent Advisory Committee

Parent involvement is always encouraged at Gilbert Elementary and within the Dual Language program.   While they can be used to help support the program, school administration should be at the helm of that committee, sharing what the needs of the program are.






























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