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Delaware’s language immersion at the ten year mark: An overview of how it’s going

May 31, 2022

Some highlights:

  • Delaware now offers Chinese immersion in 13 schools to 1,300 students.
  • In the Mandarin program, students take the AP exam in 9th grade and then can take college-level Chinese classes in high school, allowing them to graduate one course short of a Chinese minor.
  • Of the 100 students who began in the first Kindergarten Mandarin program, 47 continued on to high school.
  • However, two school district are phasing out their Mandarin immersion programs because attrition and COVID brought the number of students too low to be sustainable.

Delaware Public Media, May 27, 2022

Assessing language immersion after a decade in Delaware schools

With nearly 10,000 students currently enrolled and new grades still being added, Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs are solidifying their position in Delaware’s public-school landscape.

Announced in 2011 by former Gov. Jack Markell and launched as a pilot program in three schools the following year, DLI programs offering either Spanish or Chinese are now operating in 12 of the 15 school districts that serve the elementary grades (all but Lake Forest, Laurel and Woodbridge). Two charter schools, Las Americas Aspira and Academia Antonia Alonso, offer Spanish immersion, and Odyssey Charter has the state’s only Greek immersion program.

Growth has been steady – from the original three schools to 29 in 2017 to 57 this year. Spanish is offered in 46 schools to about 8,500 students, Chinese in 13 to about 1,300. (Three schools offer immersion in both languages.)

Some of the first students to enter a Chinese immersion program – in the Caesar Rodney School District – are finishing their first year of high school by taking the Chinese Advanced Placement exam. They will have the opportunity to take three more years of Chinese classes in high school – and earning college credit for them – or learning a third language, making them trilingual before they earn their diplomas.

Please read more here.

And here’s info about the state-wide program overall.

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