WORLD LANGUAGE IMMERSION
Language immersion is an approach to second language instruction in which teaching and learning of core content occur in a language other than English. This means that the target language is the medium of instruction for the teacher and of learning for the students. Blue Valley uses a dual language immersion model in which students are co-taught by two full-time classroom teachers, spending half of the day in the target immersion language and half in English. The immersion program begins in kindergarten and participating families are asked to make a long-term, multi-year commitment to immersion education.
The application period for the 2022-23 school year has closed. Applications are not being accepted for the 2023-24 school year as the district is conducting a program evaluation.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The goal of immersion is language acquisition at a proficiency level equal to the native language, with content and culture as complementary components. Blue Valley's long-term goal is for students to graduate with distinctive bi-lingual skills in multiple language families that set them apart for academic and professional success, as well as provide lifelong personal reward and global intercultural connections.
- Enhances cognitive skills
- Increases cultural competence
- Better prepares students for the global community where a second language is an asset
- Improves performance on standardized tests
- Teaches second languages skills
SITES AND OPTIONS
Wolf Springs Elementary
Blue Valley Schools’ inaugural language immersion program began in the 2017-18 school year at Wolf Springs Elementary. The school will welcome its sixth incoming kindergarten immersion class in August 2022. Up to one-half of immersion students at Wolf Springs come from the Blue Valley Southwest attendance area. Students must be enrolled in in-person learning to apply.
Valley Park Elementary
Valley Park Elementary is the district’s second Chinese Immersion program site. The school will welcome its fifth incoming kindergarten immersion class in August 2022. Students must reside in the VPE attendance boundary to be considered for the VPE program. Siblings of current immersion students will have preference regardless of home school. Students must be enrolled in in-person learning to apply.
ELEMENTARY CHINESE IMMERSION FAQs
For answers to many frequently asked questions, visit our FAQ page.
MIDDLE SCHOOL CHINESE IMMERSION INFORMATION
The middle school program begins in the fall of 2023 at ABMS and the fall of 2024 at OTMS.
Middle School Chinese Immersion Programming
The middle school Chinese immersion program introduces flexibility for students and families. Students may choose to continue in their immersive Mandarin studies by signing up for the middle school Chinese Language Arts (CLA) course. This is the main course in which students receive explicit instruction in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students may choose to also enroll in up to two semester electives for a deeper immersion experience. Students will have the option to enroll in Chinese immersion STEAM or Humanities. The STEAM course provides students relevant opportunities to apply their language skills in the context of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Humanities is another opportunity to enhance language skills by using topics related to Chinese literature, history, social sciences and geography. Students have the opportunity to add one, two, or neither of the complimentary courses to their CLA to tailor their middle school experience to their goals.
More information for 2022-23 fifth grade students and their families will be available in the fall of 2022 during the normal enrollment process for the 2023-24 school year.
Informational Webinar Video
An informational webinar about the upcoming middle school Chinese Immersion programming was held on May 5, 2022. To listen to or view a recording of this webinar, click here. You can also access the presentation slides from the webinar here. The program will be for students who are currently in one of Blue Valley's elementary immersion programs. The first sixth grade immersion class will begin in the fall of 2023.
FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions
How does the elective schedule work in middle school? Do the electives meet every day, or every other?
- In middle school, students participate in each of their 3 electives daily.
If a student enrolls in one of the Chinese immersion elective courses, Humanities or STEAM, will the course be taught in English or Chinese?
- The Humanities and STEM electives for Chinese Immersion will be taught in Chinese. Students will use their Chinese language skills during the course.
Will both of the optional electives be available during each semester or will one elective be offered in the fall and the other in the spring?
- Most likely one of the elective courses will be offered in the fall and the other in the spring. For example 6th grade STEAM may be offered in the fall and 6th grade Humanities may be offered in the spring.
Will the electives, STEAM and Humanities, have the same content at each grade level?
- No, if a student takes the Chinese Immersion STEAM course each of their 3 years in middle school, they will have different learning experiences each time the course is taken.
If students take the Humanities elective do they need to still take Humanities (English Language Arts) as a core class?
- Yes, the core English Language Arts course is a required course. In this course students learn the grade level standards for reading, writing, speaking and listening in English. In the Humanities Chinese immersion elective, students will learn through the Chinese language and will address different standards and learning targets.
Are there prerequisites for the Chinese Immersion electives (Humanities and STEAM) For example, if my child wants to take the .5 Humanities class in 6th grade, can they take the STEAM class in 7th grade?
- Beyond being enrolled in the Chinese Language Arts course concurrently, there is not a prerequisite for the Humanities and STEAM courses. In the example above, the student could enroll in the Humanities course in 6th grade and the STEAM course in 7th grade.
Can students take PE online?
- Students are required to take a semester of Physical Education as an elective each year. Currently students are able to take PE online in 7th and 8th grade. We are investigating an option for 6th graders in the Chinese Immersion program to participate in online PE. More information will be provided in fall 2022.
Will immersion students be guaranteed their choice of electives since they have to take CLA?
- Our middle school administrators and counselors strive to honor normal elective choices for all students to the greatest extent possible. Principals will make every effort to ensure students are able to take Chinese Immersion STEAM and Humanities as requested. Students in Chinese Immersion will not have preferential scheduling for normal electives.
Will the Chinese Language Arts Course Elective (1.0) count toward High School language in 7th and 8th?
- Per our Board of Education policy, if a student completes the full middle school world language series, 6th, 7th and 8th grade, in a Blue Valley middle school, the student may request to have 2 high school credits applied to their high school transcript. The grades from each semester of 7th and 8th grade are applied to the high school transcript.
What are the Other elective options for 6th grade?
- The elective courses currently offered in our middle schools can be found here.
How many Mandarin teachers will there be to cover all the electives?
- As with all programs, staffing is contingent on enrollment. We will fully staff programs at each site based on enrollment needs.
Will there be a difference between the Chinese Language Arts course offered for Immersion students, and the Chinese language elective that is currently offered in Grade 6/7/8?
- Yes, the students who are enrolled in the Immersion Chinese Language Arts course will engage in a different curriculum than Chinese 6/7/8 where students are just beginning their studies of Mandarin.
Why is the Chinese ELA mandatory, versus students who could be allowed to just take the Humanities or the STEAM portion?
- The Chinese Language Arts course is where the explicit instruction focused on language acquisition will take place. The focus is specifically on reading, writing, speaking and listening in the Chinese Language and moving students towards deeper levels of proficiency. In contrast, the STEAM and Humanities electives will allow students additional opportunities to apply their language skills, while also reinforcing other core area standards.
Will the Chinese Language Arts be 'leveled' in MS to account for those who are more advanced or who need more support?
- As with all world language courses, students will benefit from differentiated instruction in CLA. There will be three levels of CLA in middle school, one for each grade level.
What instructional resources will be used in the middle school courses?
- The resources utilized in the middle school courses will be selected during the 2022-2023 school year as a part of our district’s curriculum writing and resource selection process.
- Enhances cognitive skills