Main navigation

International Education

Dual Language Education

Dual Language at Seattle Public Schools

One of the unique characteristics of Seattle’s International Education policy is the commitment to helping students develop a high level of proficiency in a language other than English by providing a K-12 sequence of language study beginning in Seattle’s international elementary schools. The result of participation in a dual language program from kindergarten through grade 12 should be developing bilingualism and biliteracy at grade level, sociocultural competence and identity development.

If a program is set up to serve as a bilingual education model the focus should be on prioritizing access and the learning needs of multilingual students. In Seattle Public Schools we are striving to develop Two-Way Dual Language programs where especially in grades K-5, 50% of the students are native speakers of the target language (e.g., Spanish).

Elementary Dual Language

Seattle currently has five elementary International Schools offering Dual Language Education:

Two elementary Option schools in the northwest region offering 1/2 day taught in Spanish or Japanese:
John Stanford International School
McDonald International School

Two elementary Neighborhood schools in the southeast region offering 1/2 day taught in Spanish or Mandarin:
Beacon Hill International School
Dearborn Park International School

One elementary Neighborhood school in the southwest region offering 1/2 day taught in Spanish:
Concord International School

Middle & High School Dual Language

There are currently three International Middle Schools in Seattle serving students continuing from dual language elementary schools and multilingual students that attend the school and speak the target language (Spanish, Mandarin or Japanese).

  • Denny International Middle School (Southwest Region) offers Dual Language classes in Spanish Language Arts and Social Studies ( 2 periods per day ). Both classes are taught in Spanish with the goals of preparing students to be bilingual and biliterate in Spanish and English, complete academic content in Spanish and continue to advanced language courses, including Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) and earn the Seal of Biliteracy.
  • Mercer International Middle School (Southeast Region) offers Dual Language classes for both Spanish dual language and Mandarin dual language. Currently Mercer offers Social Studies classes in Spanish or Mandarin in 6th, 7th and 8th grade and Chinese Language Arts or Spanish Language Arts in 6th and 8th grade (2 periods per day ). The goals of dual language at Mercer are to prepare students to be bilingual and biliterate in Spanish and English, complete academic content in Spanish or Mandarin and continue to advanced language courses, including Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) and earn the Seal of Biliteracy.
  • Hamilton International Middle School (Northwest Region) offers Dual Language Immersion Continuation Language Arts courses in Spanish and Japanese Language Arts ( 1 period per day ). The goals of dual language at Mercer are to prepare students to be bilingual and biliterate in Spanish and English, complete academic content in Spanish or Mandarin and continue to advanced language courses, including Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) and earn the Seal of Biliteracy.

The high school Dual Language models are still in development:

  • Chief Sealth International High School (Southwest Region) developed its Dual Language program for heritage speakers of Spanish who had participated in Denny International Middle School’s program from grades 6-8. In fall 2016, the first group of students who started in Dual Language in Spanish at Concord International School entered 9th grade at Chief Sealth, and they had the opportunity to take both World History in Spanish and AP Spanish 5 as a language course. In 10th through 12th grades, they continued to have opportunities for language study (through IB) as well as Social Studies or other similar classes in Spanish ( 2 periods per day most years). This cohort of students graduated Spring of 2020 and Chief Sealth continues to offer dual language centering many latinx students and multilingual Spanish-speaking students.
  • Lincoln High School (Northwest Region) offers dual language classes in Japanese and Spanish for students continuing from Hamilton International Middle School. Students have the opportunity to take advanced language courses such as level 4 Spanish or Japanese, AP Language (Japanese or Spanish), AP Literature (Japanese or Spanish) and complete independent study in the language. Lincoln is currently working on offering content area classes in the target languages of Japanese and Spanish.


For questions, contact: Dr. Thad Williams
tbwilliams@seattleschools.org

For enrollment questions, visit: SPS Enrollment