Spanish Immersion

  • The Department of Spanish Dual Language Immersion

    A K-12 Overview

    It should be noted that the Herricks Public Schools is the only New York State public school district to have a fully articulated K-12 Spanish dual language program.  

    Department Philosophy

    “Monolingualism Can Be Cured.”  Through the learning of language we build on and affirm cultural, linguistic, intellectual and personal identities.  Knowledge of several languages empowers individuals by opening economic and social opportunities.  It promotes tolerance and diversity as well as solidarity within our global community. Language learning allows us to bridge cultural barriers and promote ways of interpreting our diverse world while stimulating intellectual curiosity. Furthermore, our work at the elementary level is to help students build literacy skills in two languages. We want our students to be college, career and world-ready! 


    The goals of the Spanish Dual Language Immersion Program are to:

    • Ensure that our children are truly bilingual 
    • Develop strong literacy skills in both English and Spanish
    • Provide students with the academic language to clearly communicate their thoughts and opinions
    • Develop the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity
    • Prepare them to live, work and thrive in a global community 


    According to research, one can define several advantages associated with immersion programs. These advantages include:

    • A greater measure of cognitive flexibility and creative/divergent thinking skills
    • Development of more intense listening skills
    • Transfer skills in many curriculum areas. Vocabulary development in English is especially enhanced by learning a romance language at any early age
    • Development of fluency in a world language in a natural setting, with fluency being the by-product
    • Development of a greater degree of cross-cultural acceptance through the understanding that the diverse peoples of the world speak diverse languages, and that learning a world language can bring us in touch with the world around us in a very personal way

    Understanding Language Proficiency

    The video link embedded in the image below provides families with an understanding of language growth/proficiency. The informational video was created by the Granite School District, Salt Lake City, Utah. We thank them for sharing these incredible resources that their DLI teams create. Please note that the language targets that are presented are similar to ours, but slight differences may exist. Please use the information presented as a way to help gain a deeper understanding of proficiency growth and expectations of what DLI students can and can not do with the language based on their proficiency level. Proficiency growth is not measured by a list of vocabulary words or how many verbs a student can conjugate, but what can a student do with the language when in contact with native speakers. The Herricks Public Schools assesses students with the AAPPL to ensure our students are meeting our targets. Please review the presentation Herricks' Parent Proficiency Night in the Related Files at the bottom of this webpage. Though it is from several years ago, the information is still relevant today. Click on the pyramid image to view the video How DLI Students Progress Toward Language Proficiency

     ACTFL Proficiency Levels s


    An overview of the Spanish Language Immersion Program at Denton Avenue Elementary School (K-5)

    The program begins in kindergarten; all district residents, with incoming kindergarten aged children, will receive information about the program and the required process in the Kindergarten Registration Packet. For those families that are interested in the program, but who enter the district after the school year begins, their child must demonstrate a certain level of proficiency to be considered for placement into the program, if spots are available. The program is open to district residents only. Please note that we cannot guarantee placement, but we will be more than happy to explore all options with families who are interested. 

    Students begin their day either in English or in Spanish and then switch classrooms to receive instruction in the other language. While students are with their Spanish immersion teacher, they will receive instruction in Mathematics and in Science entirely in Spanish. English language arts instruction is delivered by the English speaking teacher; their English literacy block is maintained to ensure a high level of literacy in the English language. The question of who delivers the content of the Social Studies block is decided by the grade level teacher and the Spanish immersion teacher. Students continue to receive their specials, such as music, art, physical education, and library. 

    The grade level teacher works closely with the Spanish immersion teacher to co-plan and to discuss the needs of our children. They develop lesson plans and materials to ensure that the grade level (content) standards are met for all children, regardless of the language in which instruction is delivered. All assessments and activities are age and level appropriate. All state assessments are administered in English. The strong partnership that is developed is critical to the success of our immersion program. 

    An overview of the program at Herricks Middle School (6-8)

    The middle school program follows other nationally recognized immersion programs with two periods of Spanish instruction. Social Studies in grades 6, 7, and 8 are taught entirely in Spanish. Students are expected to complete the curriculum as their counterparts in all English classes. Students are also provided with Spanish classes in grades 6, 7, and 8. The curriculum of the Spanish courses are based on the themes of the Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture course.It is important to note that an immersion student who completes the three middle school Spanish courses successfuly, including the final summative assessments, will receive units of high school credit that will allow him/her to use towards their towards the Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation. These Spanish language courses are placed on a student's official high school transcript. 

    An Overview of the program at Herricks High School (9-12)

    The high school program continues to follow other national models with their offerings. The immersion students are placed in Spanish 4 Honors Language Immersion in grade nine. The course prepares students for the AP Spanish Language & Culture course in grade ten. The Spanish Language & Culture course is offered to seniors and Spanish language immersion students, or by placement. Spanish immersion students are enrolled with 12th grade students in this senior level course to advance their proficiency level and take the challenging AP Spanish Language & Culture Exam in the spring. Once students successfully complete the AP Spanish course, they are permitted to take the Breaking Barriers: Exploring the Spanish Speaking World in grade eleven. In grade twelve, students are offered their final course, Writers, Artists, and Thinkers of the Spanish Speaking World. It should be noted that the courses Breaking Barriers and Writers, Artists, and Thinkers are modeled off of 300 level upper division college courses that majors and minors are required to take. We are actively seeking a university partner for these upper division courses to be able to offer our students the opportunity to take the last two course for college credit. To view the world language flow chart, please click here. To read the high school course descriptions, please click here

    Our first cohort of dual language Spanish immersion students graduated in June of 2022! The students received the New York State Seal of Biliteracy for their commitment to bilingualism/multilingualism. It should be noted that the 78 Herricks graduates, immersion and non-immersion students, received this prestigious recognition from the New York State Education Department. Our community believes that our students need to be college, career, and world-ready! Click HERE to learn more about the NYS Seal of Biliteracy. 

    Program Recognition

    The Herricks Language Dual Language Spanish Immersion Program has been featured twice in the New York State Education Department Office of Bilingual Education & World Languages' newsletters. The articles are available by clicking here for the August 2015, and for the more recent, the January 2022, please click HERETo read the district's newsletter Dateline that featured the immersion program, click here. The program was featured in Newsday on December 05, 2021 - click HERE to read the article. The program was featured on the Spotlight on Long Island Schools radio show - click HERE to listen. Also, the district was recognized by the New York State School Boards Association with the Champions of Change award for its dual language immersion program; the video message (click HERE) is from the New York State Associate Commissioner from the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages congratulating the district on its award. The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) featured the program on their website - click HERE.


    It takes a community to build a program of excellence!

    Registration Process:

    The 2023-2024 Dual Language Spanish Immersion cohort of kindergarten students is at capacity. If spots become available, at any grade level, there are opportunities for families to enroll their child into the program. It is important to note that a student must demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in the Spanish language to enter a certain grade level. If interested, please contact the director for more information and specifics before a child is permitted to enter the program to ensure success.

    2024-2025 School Year: For those district residents that have an incoming kindergarten student in September of 2024 and are interested in exploring the dual language Spanish immersion program, please know that a list of meeting dates are posted below. There is no need to register for one of the three meetings, but you are required to attend one of them, even if you have a child enrolled in the program. Attendance will be taken at the informational meeting at that time. Informational meetings to be held at Denton Avenue Elementary School. A parent/guardian is required to attend one of the meetings listed below. Again, attendance will be taken at the meeting. We will explain the new process at the meeting. We look forward to sharing a program overview so that you can make the best possible decision for your child. 

    Dates of the informational meetings:

    Wednesday, March 20 @ 7:00 PM

    Tuesday, March 26 @ 7:00 PM

    Monday, April 01 @ 9:15 AM

    If you have any questions about our program, please contact one of the following administrators. Please explore the files below to learn more about our unique program.

    Francesco L. Fratto
    Director of World Languages, Immersion & English as a New Language
    Phone: 516-305-8719

    Mr. Dominick Tolipano                              Mr, Brian McConaghy                             Ms. Joan Keegan
    Denton Avenue ES           Principal, Herricks MS                   Principal, Herricks HS           
    Phone: 516-305-8400                              Phone: 516-305-8600                             Phone: 516-305-8700


Related Files