Three students walking with a flag during a Hispanic Heritage parade.

Dual Language Program

Housed at Delaware Community School, the Dual Language Program is the only program of its kind in the northeast corridor of New York state. A language immersion program in Spanish and English. The program is open to children throughout the city starting in prekindergarten.

The program features one bilingual class for each grade through fifth. The prekindergarten class has 18 seats total, nine for Spanish speakers and nine for English speakers. Grades K-5 have approximately 24 students, again evenly divided between Spanish speakers and English speakers.

Most students begin the program in prekindergarten. Therefore, few spots, if any, are open for older children. However, the district keeps a waiting list on the chance a seat becomes available.

In the Dual Language Program, instructional time is divided between learning in Spanish and learning in English. Classes are integrated to promote cultural and linguistic exchanges among the students. Students learn the languages through content area instruction using grade-appropriate curriculum.

Children who learn to read in their native language very quickly catch on to reading in their second language. The same is true for math, science and social studies concepts. Concepts are learned in one language and then naturally transfer into the second language.

For more information, contact Delaware Community School Principal Ken Lein at 475-6750 or send an e-mail to him. You also can download an informational brochure about the program:

The program is composed of bilingual professionals, many of whom are from Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Peru and the United States. In addition to the bilingual classroom teachers there also is a bilingual school psychologist and speech therapist. There also is an English as a New Language (ENL) teacher and a Spanish as a Second Language teacher. Because of their backgrounds, the teachers share their cultural heritages with the children, helping them to better achieve a multicultural awareness.

Q: What is a typical day or week schedule like?

A: Everyday, students receive one hour of language arts -- reading and writing instruction -- in their native language provided by their classroom teacher and one hour a day of second-language instruction -- Spanish as a second language or English as a second language -- provided by certified and experienced second-language teachers. Science, social studies and math are instructed by their classroom teacher in Spanish on one day and the next day's lesson is instructed in English on an alternating-day schedule, thereby allowing both native English speakers and native Spanish speakers the opportunity to serve as peer coaches or "teachers."

Q: How will my children learn Spanish as a Second Language?

A: In addition to learning Spanish in math, science and social studies in their regular classroom with their bilingual classroom teacher, students are introduced to their second language through lessons in the daily Spanish as a Second Language class based on themes that are selected in partnership with the child's classroom teacher to further reinforce classroom-based instruction. Instruction is designed to address the various ways in which children learn. For example, students are introduced to songs, poems, plays and other oral activities related to the theme in Spanish. They listen to and discuss literature selections related to the theme and then they either play a game and/or complete an art activity, which may also include literacy development related to the theme. Students learn to retell stories they have listened to and create their own plays in response to the literature and/or theme that is being studied.

Q: Do you offer fun bilingual family involvement activities to learn some Spanish and learn about Latino cultures?

A: The Dual Language Enrichment Program hosts bilingual family nights during the school year in which the children in the program have the opportunity share what they are learning with their families. Parental involvement in the Dual Language Enrichment Program is highly valued. Parents are encouraged to visit their child(ren)'s classroom and to discuss their child(ren)'s progress in the program. Since all personnel in the program are bilingual, this is easily supported. In the event a child has a speech disorder, a bilingual speech therapist is available to provide services to native Spanish speakers.

Q: Does my child have to live in the neighborhood of Delaware Community School in order for my child to enroll in the Dual Language Program?

A: No. Children enrolled in the Dual Language Program can live anywhere in Albany. If the family doesn't reside in the neighborhood where the program is located, parents must complete an open enrollment form to apply for the program. Beginning in kindergarten, transportation is provided for students who live at least 1.5 miles from Delaware Community School.