Dual-Language Schools in DC – And Beyond
We’re fortunate to live in a truly global city with boundless options for learning a second (or third!) language. If you’re new to the Washington, DC area and in search of dual-language schools in DC for your child, look no further. We’ve rounded up the various programs offered by each local school system, along with a few private options. The good news? The options for dual-language schools in DC are varied and plentiful!
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) offers Spanish-English two-way dual-language programs for children in grades K-5 at John Adams Elementary School and Mount Vernon Community School. In the ACPS program model, half of the students are from Spanish-speaking homes and the other half are from homes in which English (or another language) is spoken. Program instruction seamlessly combines literacy and academic content knowledge in both languages
Arlington Public Schools (APS) offers dual-language immersion (Spanish-English) for students in the elementary through high school levels. The APS program consists of both native Spanish speakers and non-Spanish speakers. Programs are offered at four APC schools: Claremont and Key Elementary Schools, Gunston Middle School, and Wakefield High School. The program is designed to benefit both Spanish and non-Spanish speakers. Students in this program spend part of the day in a Spanish-language classroom learning math, Spanish reading/writing, science, and music or art. The remainder of the day focuses on learning reading, writing, and other subjects in English. The students are taught by two teachers; one providing academic instruction in English, and the other in Spanish.
FCPS uses two immersion program models. Its one-way immersion program classes consist of students learning the target language. French, German, Japanese, and Spanish programs are offered at seven FCPS elementary schools as early as kindergarten. Admission is granted via a lottery process. FCPS’ two-way program balances native speakers and learners of the selected language. Both groups serve as peer language models during the respective language portion of the instruction. FCPS elementary students are able to learn Spanish and Korean at ten elementary schools through the two-way immersion program beginning in kindergarten. Admission to this program is also through a lottery process.
IN WASHINGTON, DC
District of Columbia
DCPS currently offers 11 dual-language programs, either “whole school” programs, in which the entire student body receives dual language education or “strand” programs, in which only part of the student population receives dual language education. Eight DCPS elementary schools offer a dual-language program, some as early as Pre-K. Families interested in Dual Language middle and high school programs must apply to the through the MySchoolDC lottery (some secondary schools require language testing prior to admittance). You can see the complete list of DCPS dual-language schools and programs here.
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) offers Spanish, French, and Chinese elementary immersion programs at seven schools. Click here for the complete list. Some of the MCPS programs are total immersion, in which all core subjects are taught in the target language, while the others are partial-immersion. Some immersion programs are based on geographic location and/or give preference to students zoned for that school. All students entering grades K–5 in the may participate in the immersion lottery. Students may choose to continue into the feeder middle school immersion program at one of five schools.
Prince George’s County
Private Language Schools
German International School
8617 Chateau Drive, Potomac MD, 20854
The German International School is the only full-time German day school in Washington, offering a challenging German curriculum complemented by some American elements. Its graduates receive the globally recognized German International Abitur (DIA) as well as a Maryland high school diploma. Additionally, the German International School offers German language courses for children ages three and up and teenagers (as well as adults) at all levels. These classes are offered on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.
Goethe Institute – Washington
1990 K Street, NW, Suite 03, Washington, DC 20006
The Goethe Institute’s Washington, DC office offers introductory German for teenagers (13 – 17).
Casa Italiana Language School
595 Third Street, NW, Washington DC 20001-2703
Casa Italiana Language School (CILS) offers Italian language classes for children ages 4 – 13. Adult classes are also offered, as are Italian history, culture, and culinary programs. CILS instructors are all native language teachers with extensive experience in teaching Italian as a second language.
2142 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008
The Alliance Française offers French language classes for children as young as age one! Its regular classes are targeted for children up to age 16. Its summer offerings include programs for ages 12 to 18, including beginners’ classes, review programs, as well as AP exam prep. The Alliance Française also offers French for Native Speakers, a course for francophone children enrolled in American schools who want to learn to read in French.
4963 Elm Street, Suite 300, Bethesda, MD 20814
Chinese Now! offers small group, semi-private, and private Chinese language classes for children at its Bethesda location. Its goal is to facilitate a greater understanding of China through its language. Its small class sizes (children’s classes are capped at eight students) are designed so that students have the opportunity to actively practice what they are studying.
The Bottom Line
Options abound for dual-language schools in DC. From Japenese to German, from Chinese to Spanish, there are so many opportunities to expand your kids’ linguistic horizons. Did we miss any dual-language schools in DC? Please let us know so we can add it to this list.