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CUSD Immersion Program

Two-way Spanish-English Immersion

The Two-Way Spanish-English Immersion is a dual language education that combines students from two language groups for instruction in both of their languages. The goals of the program are to develop fluency and literacy in both languages, achieve proficiency in all academic subjects, cultivate an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, and achieve the Seal of Biliteracy award.

The Kindergarten through 5th grade Immersion Program is located at Hatch Elementary School. 6th grade Immersion students at Cunha Intermediate can continue their Spanish education in literature, grammar, and social studies. In High School students have the opportunity to study advanced Spanish.

Duration of Program

This is a K-12 program, however, a minimum of a K-5 commitment to the Immersion Program is recommended to succeed in bilingual language development.


English speakers may enter at the Kindergarten or first grade levels. Spanish speakers may enter at K, first or second grade. Bilingual students may be admitted at any grade level depending on their level of literacy in Spanish and their oral English proficiency. Skills will be assessed by Immersion staff.

Two-way Bilingual Literacy

Recognizing the importance of global students and the need to teach skills to prepare for a global economy, the Two-Way Bilingual Immersion program provides an immersion model for English-speaking students and a bilingual model for Spanish-speaking students. It is an “additive bilingual” program, meaning that all students learn in both languages.

Emphasis on Spanish instruction in the early grades allows English-speakers extensive exposure to Spanish. Spanish-speakers learn their second language-English without compromising their first language, and with the benefit of primary language support as they learn necessary skills.

Spanish and English instruction is always kept separate, allowing for maximized concentration of both languages. Heterogeneous groupings during the Spanish and English portions of the day provide students with opportunities to assist and learn from one another, allowing second language acquisition to occur naturally.

Students truly learn from one another, developing high levels of confidence and self-esteem through their study of two languages. Learning comes alive as the beauty of both languages is explored through literature and song. The goals for the students are to:

  • Develop fluency and literacy in Spanish and English
  • Achieve proficiency in all academic subjects
  • Cultivate an appreciation of other cultures, and develop positive attitudes toward fellow students, their families and community
  • Prepare for Advanced Placement Spanish Test
  • Seal of Biliteracy Award

Language Separation

Instructional delivery is monolingual at all times. Teachers do not use translation for comprehension. Instead, a multitude of second language acquisition techniques make language and content understandable for all students.

Experiential Curriculum

Teachers establish an environment where students must use the target language to meet real needs. This approach develops language skills through hands-on classroom experiences. Students more readily attach vocabulary to an activity in a hands-on or experiential setting.

Classroom Composition

The most desirable student ratio in a Two-Way classroom is 50% English speakers and 50% Spanish speakers, and ratios are kept as close as possible to the optimum.

Role of Staff

The Spanish speaking Immersion Program instructors are credentialed bilingual teachers with native-like fluency in Spanish. Resource teachers and Amity Interns also provide support.

Kindergarten through 5th Grades

Kindergarten: *90% of the instruction is in Spanish. All subjects taught in Spanish; 30 minutes of English oral language development five times a week.

First Grade: *80% of the instruction is in Spanish. All subjects taught in Spanish; one hour of English language development (which includes Science) five times a week.

Second Grade: *70% of the instruction is in Spanish. Most subjects taught in Spanish; one and one-half hour of English which includes Oral Language Development, Science & some Social Studies activities. A formal introduction of English Reading and Language Arts begins at the second semester.

Third Grade: *60% of instruction is in Spanish. Two hours of English Language Arts which includes Reading and Writing.

Fourth Grade: *33% of instruction is in Spanish. English Language Arts is leveled, students are grouped and work with appropriate teacher.

Fifth Grade: *33% of instruction is in Spanish. English Language Arts is leveled. Students are grouped and work with appropriate teacher. A 5th grade student exits the program with the ability to read and comprehend appropriate text and to converse in both languages.

* The percentages above are the model for the Immersion Program. The actual percentages may change based on student instructional needs.

** English Language Development is taught during a school wide time with students regrouped based on English level for focused instruction.

6th, 7th & 8th Grades

Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students continue their immersion coursework by participating in the new Spanish Language Arts core class (2 periods) during the regular school day. These classes cover the same grade-level standards that are taught in the mainstream English Language Arts; however, they are conducted in both English and Spanish. Students are placed in these classes pending various assessments and their academic record. This is a pilot program for the 2016-2017 school year.

* An exiting 8th grade student will have the ability to read novels in Spanish and be familiar with conventions of Spanish grammar, in addition to understanding the grade-level Common Core standards for Language Arts. Additionally, an 8th grade student will have an understanding of a variety of cultures and be able to converse fluently in English and Spanish.

Spanish Language Arts at Cunha

9th through 12th Grades

At Half Moon Bay High School, students typically join the Spanish for Spanish Speakers class as freshmen. This class is taught in Spanish, and covers reading, writing, and grammar skills at a higher level to prepare students for AP courses their sophomore year. The College Board reserves AP-level courses for advanced juniors and seniors, requiring not just strong language skills but also higher-level thinking and interpretation skills typically not developed until high school. Rarely, students with exceptional skills in all areas may be allowed to test into the course their first year.

Seal of Biliteracy

Exiting students who are fluent speakers, readers and writers of both English and Spanish will receive the Seal of Biliteracy. This award is in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.


Learn More

Immersion Program Description

Immersion at Hatch Elementary

Immersion at Cunha Intermediate

Immersion at HMB High School


Spanish Immersion Parent Association


Seal of of Biliteracy Adopted


What is the Seal of Biliteracy?

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school district, in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation.

Why Implement it?

The Seal of Biliteracy encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the skills our students attain, and can be evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers and college admissions offices.