Dual Immersion Academy

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The Dual Immersion Academy (DIA) was designed to provide students with an effective way to become fluent and literate in both English and Spanish – two of the world’s most widely spoken languages. The program strives to help students excel in academic subjects in both languages. Students in the program also develop life skills that help them understand and respect diverse cultures. Students also learn cooperative and collaborative problem-solving skills.

The Dual Immersion Academy (DIA) is open to students countywide and is housed at Rio Plaza and Rio Real School. The dual immersion program started out as a small program for kindergartners in 2006 at Rio Real School. For the 2020/2021 School year Rio School District will add its second Dual Immersion Academy at Rio Plaza School enrolling Transitional Kindergarteners, and Kindergarteners.

Classes are geared for native English and Spanish speakers, who are taught by experienced bilingual teachers. Kindergarten students receive 90 percent of their instruction in Spanish and 10 percent in English. Increasing amounts of English are added each year until 50 percent is reached in fourth grade and continues in fifth grade. Instruction at every grade level focuses on the state-mandated academic requirements, as well as listening, speaking, reading, writing, the arts and culture in both languages.

DIA’s format is based on proven research methods and in-classroom experience. Studies show that dual immersion programs are beneficial for both English and Spanish speakers.


DIA helps students succeed in school and in life by providing:

  • Enhanced academic and linguistic competence in two languages
  • Higher levels of creative thinking and problem solving
  • Opportunities to participate in a global society and culturally diverse environment
  • Skills leading to increased job opportunities and career-related advantages as children reach adulthood
  • Increased tolerance and understanding of different cultures

Dual Immersion FAQs

Dual immersion is an approach to education that teaches native Spanish and English speaking students in the same classroom. Students are taught academic subjects in both English and Spanish throughout the day.

Children become bilingual, biliterate and bicultural in the Dual Immersion Academy program. This program challenges young people academically and prepares them to better understand and contribute to society. Research has shown that bilingual students perform better than students who speak only one language on cooperative and collaborative problem-solving tasks.

Native Spanish speakers receive the same academic and developmental benefits of learning two languages in the Dual Immersion Academy program; plus they start out with a solid academic base by learning in their language. Many of our students come from backgrounds where education and socioeconomic levels are low. Beginning their schooling in the home language can give these students the confidence they need to succeed in school.

The Dual Immersion Academy program gives English-speaking students the opportunity to become bilingual, bilterate and bicultural. Instruction in English is carefully defined and implemented. Beginning in kindergarten, 10 percent of the day is dedicated to systematic and academic English Language Development. Research shows that when programs are fully implemented according to the program design, English learners score as well or better than their peers in other programs on English tests.

The Dual Immersion Academy program is driven by curriculum taught in two languages. Dual immersion teachers comply with all district standards for grade-level content, and students are learning the same content in this program that they would in other Rio School District schools. The difference is they are learning these core academic subjects in both Spanish and English.