Immersion Program FAQs
What is an immersion program?
The Olathe Public Schools is launching a dual language immersion program beginning in the 2020-21 school year. This program will begin with two kindergarten classrooms at two elementary schools that will spend half of their day learning in English and half of their day learning in Spanish. Students will learn science, social studies, and math in both Spanish and English throughout the day. Students will start in kindergarten and learn to read and write in two languages as they progress through elementary school. Each subsequent year after the 2020-2021 school year, a Spanish immersion teacher will be added to the next grade to continue the program.
Why should my child participate in an immersion program?
Research shows that students who take part in an immersion classroom, consistently develop native-like levels of comprehension, such as listening and reading skills, in their second language. They also display fluency and confidence when using it that they can hopefully take through the rest of their lives.
Does my child already need to know Spanish?
No. This program assumes that your child does not have any Spanish-language background. The goal of the dual-language immersion program is to teach your child Spanish throughout their elementary experience. If your child already has a background with the Spanish language, great. However, the majority of the students in the program will come with no Spanish background.
Who can participate?
The Olathe Dual Language Immersion program seeks to enroll students from varying backgrounds and all abilities. Applications are open to all Olathe students entering Kindergarten for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.
What schools will have an immersion program and when will they be launched?
Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, Black Bob and Manchester Park elementary schools will each have two kindergarten sections designated as immersion.
How can I get my child into one of the immersion classrooms?
Incoming Olathe kindergarten students interested in being a part of the immersion program will enter an application into a lottery system on the district website March 1-27. Parents can only fill out one application for one of the immersion schools. Some spots will be saved for students living in the elementary attendance areas of Black Bob and Manchester Park and other spots will be open to other Olathe School District families wanting to transfer into the program.
Is there a cost for parents?
There is no additional cost for the immersion program beyond the yearly Olathe School District instructional fees that all students pay.
Will transportation be provided?
Students who are selected in the lottery for one of the immersion programs and transfer into the school must provide their own transportation to school.
What would my child’s day look like?
Students in a dual language immersion program experience elementary school like any other student in Olathe. The difference is that half of their instructional day will be in English and the other half will be in Spanish. Your child will have two teachers during the day, one teacher who will teach the Olathe curriculum in English and another teacher who will teach in Spanish.
How long does my child stay in the immersion program?
Students who are accepted by the lottery system into the immersion program in kindergarten will have special programming all the way through high school graduation. They will receive instruction in Spanish and English starting in elementary school and will continue through middle and high school. The percentage of their instructional day in English and Spanish will vary slightly by grade.
What will my child’s day look like in middle and high school if they continue in the immersion program?
Students who have been in the immersion program in elementary school will have some special classes designed for them in order to continue to build their Spanish-language proficiency. The courses will focus on advanced content such as Advanced Placement (AP) and courses that investigate career terminology and interpreting skills. However, most of their school day will be spent in classes with their non-immersion peers.