"The Spanish Immersion program introduces students to a whole new world of cultures and behaviors, not just another language."
Barb McGlone, Parent
In 1989, Southern Lehigh became the first school district in Pennsylvania to offer its students a total language immersion program. Spanish was chosen as the target language to allow students to develop a foreign language proficiency in the nation’s second most common language. The Spanish Immersion program spans from grades 1-12.
Students are enrolled in the total immersion program in grades 1-5. They are taught the main subjects in Spanish. Specialists teach art, music, library and physical education classes in English. English instruction begins in third grade, where students learn the few English skills that do not transfer from Spanish instruction. Beginning in 6th grade, immersion students generally continue in Spanish, but on a more limited basis as follows:
Grade 6 - Spanish Immersion Social Studies
Grades 7 and 8 - Spanish Immersion Social Studies and Spanish Language classes designed for Spanish Immersion
High School - Spanish Language classes designed for Spanish Immersion
- Spanish Grammar and Composition I
- Spanish Grammar and Composition II
- Spanish V
- AP Spanish
What is Foreign Language Immersion?
Foreign language immersion is the process of teaching conventional academic subjects, such as math, science, social studies, and language arts, in a non-native language.
There are three types of immersion programs: partial, in which one or two subjects are taught in the target language; two-way in which half of the students are native speakers in one target language, while the other half are native speakers in a second target language; and total, in which all of the main subjects are taught in the target language
Why Enroll in an Immersion Program?
It has been well documented that children learn foreign languages more easily at an early age than later in life. Foreign language immersion has demonstrated the following benefits*:
- Improved understanding of one's native language.
- Enhanced intellectual growth
- Creation of more flexible thinkers and better listeners
- Enhanced understanding of other cultures
- A head start in higher education language requirements
- Increased job opportunities
(*Source: The Center for Applied Linguistics)
Who Can Enroll in the Program and How?
Students ready for first grade may become part of the Spanish Immersion program, as slots are available. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, a general live lottery will be used for enrollment. Families with children previously enrolled will be given preference for any additional children they are interested in enrolling (up to 14 maximum enrolled in this manner). Please see the Spanish Immersion Program Registration page for more details on the process.
Parents who desire to learn more about enrolling their children in this unique program may contact Dr. Michael Q. Roth, Assistant Superintendent at 610-282-3121 or Mr. Samuel Hafner, Principal of Liberty Bell School at (610) 282-1850.
Spanish Immersion Survey Results
In the fall of 2012, the district conducted a comprehensive Spanish Immersion parent survey. Please click here for the results of the survey.
For additional information please read the FAQ.