International Education Washington

Language Immersion

On this Resource page, you'll find links to information about language immersion and schools in Washington and Oregon that are currently offering full or partial immersion.

Topics on this page: 
What is Language Immersion? | Immersion Training and Conferences |
Language Immersion in: 
Bellevue, WA | Bothell, WA | Seattle, WA | Spokane, WA | Tacoma, WA | Portland, OR

What Is Language Immersion?

Language Immersion is an approach to language learning where students attend classes in regular school subjects, such as Math, Science, and Social Studies, that are taught in the immersion language so that the students acquire the language as they learn the content. There is growing interest in language immersion because it allows students to attain a much greater mastery of the language than they do in a separate "foreign language" class. In dual (or two-way) language immersion programs, about 50% of the students speak the immersion language natively. They are able to develop academic literacy in both their first language and in English. For more information, see:

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Immersion Training and Conferences

PLU2004 Language Immersion Workshop August, 2004
Six-day intensive workshop on language immersion, held at Pacific Lutheran University in August, 2004. See PLU2004 Workshop.

WAFLT Immersion Strand March 20, 2004
Here are links to information from the Washington Association For Language Teaching Conference on March 20, 2004, which featured three work sessions for immersion teachers:
      PowerPoint: Session 1  2  3  Handouts  Survey Results  Summary

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Language Immersion in Bellevue, WA

Bellevue School District has offered Spanish language immersion for over fifteen years. In this program, English-speaking students begin at kindergarten or first grade and receive almost all of their subject matter instruction in Spanish. After the fifth grade, students have the option of continuing in the middle school and high school programs. Tillicum Middle School also offers a French-immersion program (see French Bilingual Association.)

School Websites:
Sunset (Puesta del Sol) Elementary | Tillicum Middle School | Newport High School

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Language Immersion in Bothell, WA

Northshore School District offers Spanish language dual immersion at Woodin Elementary.

School Website: Woodin Elementary

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Language Immersion in Seattle, WA

Seattle Public Schools launched its first language immersion program at John Stanford International School in 2000. Currently, John Stanford offers half-day immersion (Math and Science) for Spanish and Japanese in grades K-5. Hamilton International Middle School offers a continuation of language immersion for students from John Stanford in Spanish and Japanese through grade 8. In fall 2007, Concord Elementary opened a two-way dual language program for Spanish, and in fall 2008, Beacon Hill International School opened immersion programs in Spanish (two-way dual) and Chinese.

School Websites:
Beacon Hill International School | Concord International School
John Stanford International School* | Hamilton International Middle School
*Winner 2003 Goldman Sachs Award for Excellence in International Education
and 2005 "Best of the Best" Award from Intel and Scholastic Books

See also:

  • John Stanford International School in Seattle
    An article in New Horizons for Learning spring, 2001 that describes the immersion program launched at John Stanford International School in fall, 2000.
  • International Public Schools in Seattle
    An article in New Horizons for Learning spring, 2004 that describes the evolution of the Seattle international public schools and current status of language immersion in Spanish and Japanese at John Stanford International School.
  • Language Immersion in Elementary & Middle School (Powerpoint or PDF version)
    A presentation summarizing the approach to language immersion taken at Seattle's John Stanford International School and the plans for middle school

There are also several private immersion programs developing, such as:

  • Prescolar Alice Francis
    Este es un pre-escolar en español con un curriculum de estudios basado en el cambio social, para niños de 2 - 4 años con un programa piloto para niños de mas de 5 años en en que estamos trabajando crear.
    This is a Spanish language preschool with a social change based curriculum for 2 - 4 year olds, with a pilot program for 5+ in  the works. It is conducted entirely in Spanish. Located in Seward Park, Seattle.  Please contact Laura at or at 206.290.3483 for details.
  • SAGA School
    The SAGA School is a non-profit German immersion school in the Seattle area.

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Language Immersion in Spokane, WA

Villa Vista Language Academy is a Spanish Language Immersion Preschool in Spokane consisting of preschool classes, summer camps, and K-6 partnership programs with public schools.

Villa Vista Language Academy
Spokane, Washington

If you would like more information about the school, please contact Laura Hamilton:

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Language Immersion in Tacoma, WA

Tacoma School District offers language immersion at Sheridan Elementary School of International Languages, which offers students the opportunity to learn French, Japanese, or Spanish. In 2003, Stewart Middle School began offering a continuation program.

School Websites:
Sheridan Elementary | Stewart Middle School

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Language Immersion in Portland, OR

Portland, Oregon School District has several immersion programs. We have been working most closely with the Japanese Magnet Program at Richmond Elementary and Mt. Tabor Middle School

School Websites:
Richmond Elementary School* | Mt. Tabor Middle School | Grant High School
*Winner 2005 Goldman Sachs Award for Excellence in International Education

See also:

  • A Common Language Creates an Uncommon Bond
    A feature article in the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) Edutopia Online Magazine highlighting Portland's Japanese Magnet Program at Richmond Elementary, Mt.Tabor Middle School, and Grant High School, that has been called a "model program" by the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL).

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