What is Dual Language Immersion?

  • In immersion programs, students are immersed into another language through study of core academic content areas such as language arts, math, science and social studies. The new language is the medium of instruction as well as the object of instruction. Language immersion programs are an exciting option for parents who want their children to have the advantages of a rigorous academic program while also learning two languages. UCPS immersion teachers achieve rigor by using the NC Standards and the UCPS curriculum.

    DLI Goals

    What are the types of immersion programs?

    There are several models of immersion in UCPS schools. Visit the Dual Language Immersion in UCPS page for specifics about the models represented at each DLI school. 

    What do the parents say?

    • Our daughters are thriving in a warm, loving environment. The Mandarin program offers a school day rich, with learning experiences. As a parent, I am very pleased with the support, vision and guidance, the administration and teachers offer.” Lisi R (Marvin Parent)
    • We feel very blessed that my children are receiving this opportunity and highly recommend the program to any parent wanting to expand their child’s horizons.” Angela B. (Western Union Parent)

    What do the principals say?

    • "I'm so honored to be able to offer this program at Kensington. To think that we are able to give the children the valuable opportunity to become fluent in another language - not only are we giving our students the gift of a second language, but we're also giving the gift of exposure and acceptance of diversity and increased critical thinking abilities. We're opening up doors for these children that others may not have! What an amazing thing to offer our students". Rachel Clarke, Principal Kensington Elementary
    • “We’re confident our immersion program will help students in the future become more aware of the world around them without thinking about limits and borders. Our SPLASH students respect cultural differences knowing that those differences are what make people around the world unique, varied, and wonderful.” Scott Spencer, Principal, Shiloh Elementary
    • “Students in the immersion program at Unionville show great self- confidence and exhibit high time on task in the classroom.” Sharyn VonCannon, Principal, Unionville Elementary

    What does the NC Department of Public Instruction say?

    The focus of dual language/immersion programs is to help students become proficient in a target language, in addition to English. These students master subject content from other disciplines, using the target language or both languages.

    Research shows:

    • All students develop high levels of proficiency in the target language and English.
    • Academic performance of students is at or above grade level.
    • Students demonstrate positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors.

    The first DL/I program was launched in North Carolina in the 1990-91 school year. By 2005, there were seven schools with dual language/immersion programs. Currently, there are over 170 programs and that number is growing.

    What does research about immersion programs in NC say?

    Click here to view information and articles about the benefits of Dual Language Immersion. 

    How do you know if your student who is enrolled in a DLI program is really learning the language?

    This short video, produced by Granite School District in Utah, does a wonderful job explaining how student proficiency is developed in an immersion program.

    Will my child learn to read and write in English?

    “It is important to acknowledge that early studies carried out in one-way total immersion programs, where English may not be introduced until grades 2–5, show evidence of a temporary lag in specific English language skills such as spelling, capitalization, punctuation, word knowledge, and word discrimination. That said, these studies also find that within a year or two after instruction in English language arts begins, the lag disappears. There were no long-term negative repercussions to English language or literacy development.” Tara Fortune, http://bit.ly/2f00YgV

    What should I do to help my child learn the new language?

    Be positive and encourage your child. Praise your child for their accomplishments in the new language. Do not compare your child’s growth in the new language to other children. Children learn to walk, talk, read and write at different paces. Provide opportunities for your child to interact with people of the other language, watch movies, have access to online or IOS apps and books, and to engage in cultural events from the new culture and language. 

    What should I do to help my child learn our home language?

    Reading to and with children on a daily basis is the best foundation you can give your child for academic success. Ask and answer questions with your child about the story, the drawings, new information and the story’s meaning. Provide books for your child from the library or from the bookstore. Provided drawing and writing paper for your child.

    Why Immersion?


    • Language proficiency in two languages
    • Enhanced cognitive skills
    • Greater self-esteem and self-identity
    • Increased cultural awareness and sensitivity
    • Global competence
    • Career skills for the national and international market

    Learn with:

    • Academic rigor
    • High engagement

    Union County Public Schools partners with Participate in providing experienced, highly qualified, North Carolina licensed teachers who are native speakers of Mandarin Chinese or Spanish to educate the student in the dual language immersion programs.