Immersion Secondary

At the secondary level, the Immersion Program is offered at Gunston Middle School and at Wakefield High School.

Program Goals:

  • To develop high levels of proficiency in the native language, and in a second language through content instruction.
  • To develop high levels of literacy in Spanish and English.
  • To promote high academic achievement in the content areas in both languages.
  • To develop cross-cultural competence.

Instruction Time

Students in Middle School receive over 11 hours of instruction in Spanish weekly, while students in High School take one course in Spanish per year. Additionally, there are two content courses offered at Wakefield in Spanish: Economics and Personal Finance and Biology.

Immersion Teachers

The Immersion program requires that Immersion teachers hold a Virginia teacher’s license in the subject area that they teach (Spanish, Social Studies or Science) in addition to demonstrating a high level of proficiency in Spanish.


The Immersion program follows the Arlington Immersion curriculum framework,which is aligned with national and state standards. The expectations for students completing the K-8 sequence are to attain the Intermediate Low-Mid level as described in the ACTFL proficiency scale. At this level, the student can report facts easily, narrate and describe at the paragraph level, and understand main ideas and most details in connected speech,among other skills.

Students completing the K-12 sequence are expected to attain the Advanced Low to Advanced High level, as described by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. At the Advanced Low to Advanced High levels, the student can understand some slang expressions, analyze information from news items, support their opinions clearly and write detailed texts on a variety of topics, among other skills.

Instructional Materials

All students in the Immersion program have access to high-quality instructional materials to help them develop the desired proficiency. In Spanish Language Arts classes, Arlington utilizes the El español para nosotros series of materials. This series is standards-based.


Immersion teachers conduct periodic formative evaluations to determine students’ progress in Spanish. The results of these assessments are used to modify instruction. Students’ language development is assessed more formally twice a year, at the beginning and end of the school year.