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SPICE stands for Spanish Immersion Cultural Education. 

The Dual Immersion program at Markham Elementary, SPICE (Spanish/English Peer Immersion and Cultural Education), offers children an exciting opportunity to learn to read, write and communicate naturally in two languages, English and Spanish. Dual Immersion is a 90/10 model standards-based educational program. This program provides a sound basis for academic excellence for all students. Our program begins in Kindergarten and follows an instructional model that is designed to promote bilingualism, biliteracy, and biculturalism for students whose primary language is English, as well as those whose primary language is Spanish. This model calls for the delivery of instruction at the following ratios based on grade level:

Program Model - 90/10

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Dual Immersion Philosophy:

In a global society, the ability to speak more than one language is essential for our future leaders. That’s why VUSD is pleased to offer the Dual Language Immersion Program at Markham Elementary School. In addition, students may continue on their pathway to biliteracy at Jepson  Middle School. 

  • Language learning is natural for young children
  • Language learning challenges mental development
  • Language learning prepares students for diversity

The Dual Immersion program combines students from two language groups and teaches them in both of their languages. The program includes balanced numbers of English, Spanish and Bilingual speaking students.


Program Goals:

  • Students will gain proficiency in both Spanish and English
  • Academic achievement in Spanish and English
  • Positive self-esteem, cultural awareness, and sensitivity

What does Research Say:

  • Students who are in a bilingual program outperform those in an English-only program.
    (Thomas and Collier, 2012)
  • Bilingual programs help close the achievement gap, especially for English learners.
    (Thomas and Collier, 2012)
  • Students in dual language programs demonstrate enhanced creativity and resourcefulness.
    (Genesee and Nicoladis, 2005)

Who can participate?

Any kindergarten student can participate. Classes are balanced among the language groups.

There is no specific criterion, but rather parents choose to enroll their child in the Dual Immersion Program, committing to a period of seven years (K-6).

Usually, children enter the Dual Immersion Program at kindergarten. Sometimes students choose and qualify to enter at later grade levels. Please contact the office to make an appointment if your child is older than kindergarten age and you are interested in SPICE.

What are the proven benefits?

Second-Language Skills

Students achieve high proficiency in both English and Spanish languages.

Improved Performance on Standardized Tests

Dual Language Immersion students perform as well as, or better than, monolingual students on standardized tests of English and math administered in English.

Enhanced Cognitive Skills

Immersion students typically develop greater cognitive flexibility, demonstrating increased attention control, better memory, and superior problem solving skills, as well as an enhanced understanding of their primary language.

Increased Cultural Sensitivity

Immersion students are more aware of, and show more positive attitudes towards, other people and cultures.

Long-Term Benefits

Immersion students are better prepared for the global community and job markets where a second language is an asset.

What if my child is older than Kindergarten-age?


Entrance into the Dual Language Program is primarily limited to Kindergarten. Students who wish to enter after Kindergarten will be assessed to ensure the program is the right fit with a high probability of success.