Spanish Immersion Program (SIP)

Immersion is an approach to second language instruction in which the usual curricular activities are conducted in the target language. This means the new language is the medium of instruction as well as the object of instruction. Students acquire the target language through interesting and meaningful activities as they learn the concepts of the various subjects included in the elementary, middle and high school curriculum.

Research shows that learning a second language at an early age has a positive effect on intellectual growth and leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language and improved listening skills.

In practice

The K-12 Spanish Partial Immersion Program offers students at the elementary level the opportunity to begin acquiring a second language at an early age.

Liberty and Northern elementary schools host immersion strands where some students spend half of the day immersed in Spanish while learning math and science content. The kids get instruction in English for language arts and social studies during the other half of the day. The foreign language immersion teacher teams with the grade-level English teachers to integrate the state's core content.

At Maxwell Elementary, the entire student body is part of the immersion program.

SIP students from all three elementaries continue on to Bryan Station Middle School. At this level, the students have math, science and language arts in Spanish. At Bryan Station High School, immersion students are offered advanced and AP Spanish courses, as well as advanced biology, chemistry and physics in the target language.

Notable: Maxwell and Liberty elementaries and Bryan Station middle and high schools are members of the International Spanish Academies.


The overall goals are to develop students' communicative and academic proficiency in the target language and in English. Another benefit of the immersion program is that students develop multicultural awareness and a more global perspective.


There are no formal criteria for enrollment. Experience and research indicate that all students, regardless of ability level or background, can benefit from acquiring a second language and can succeed in immersion programs. 

Maxwell: Grades K-1 are admitted based on a lottery draw. Students in grades 2-5 with reading, writing, speaking and listening skills at designated levels can test in if there is room.

Liberty & Northern: Incoming students may choose either the immersion track or regular kindergarten.

Any new students wishing to enter the district's Spanish Immersion Program in middle school or high school must pass a language proficiency test. | Details


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