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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Bryan Station: The mission is to provide an integrated multicultural learning environment that fosters the development of traditional basic skills as well as communication in Spanish. The goal is proficiency in Spanish as a second language.
Students currently participating in the elementary or middle school Spanish Immersion Program do not need to apply for continuation. However, if a student wishes to enter the program for the first time at the middle or high-school level, he must inquire at the school and must be able to pass verbal and written tests in Spanish and English. Contact: middle school, Lucy Carreno, 381-3288; high school, Ann Hurt, 381-3308.
FCPS online application -- The window typically is Aug. 15 to Oct. 7 for the following school year.