Boulder Valley School District

Dual Language FAQs

Will my child get confused learning two languages?

No! Research consistently shows that learning in two languages improves academic growth. However, it is best to avoid moving children in and out of the program. Students gain maximum benefits by staying in DL programming through 6th grade and continuing into middle school (Howard et al., 2018). For more information on this topic, see


Will my child still learn English in a dual language program?

Yes! Research shows that while more instructional time in Spanish positively affects Spanish achievement, it has no negative effect on English achievement (Howard et al., 2005; Lindholm-Leary, 2001; Sparrow et al., 2021).

Research demonstrates that in bilingual programming, literacy development is not hindered in either language, and students have the opportunity to gain advanced levels of English proficiency (Sparrow et al., 2021). Furthermore, as an English language development (ELD) program model, dual language has the potential to fully close the academic and opportunity gaps for multilingual/English learners and other historically underserved student groups (Collier & Thomas, 2004, 2017; Lindholm-Leary, 2017), and even though only half or less than half of the instruction is delivered in English, students learning English in DL programs master academic English skills better than those in traditional English as a second language (ESL) programs (August & Shanahan, 2010; Lindholm-Leary, 2001; Thomas & Collier, 2012). 


Should I be concerned if my child’s reading levels are not the same in both languages?

No! Bilingual and biliterate development are different from monolingual language and literacy development. It is expected that students’ reading levels will develop at different rates. Students' biliteracy development in each language cannot be directly compared to the literacy development of monolingual students. Instead, a holistic approach is used to look at students’ development across languages. (Sparrow et al., 2021).


My student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Can they participate in DL?

Yes! Students with IEPs are often successful in Dual Language Programs. As stated in the Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education (2018):  

Students with special education needs or learning disabilities are typically accepted into dual language programs (Genesee & Lindholm-Leary, 2013; Para-dis, Genesee, Crago, & Leonard, 2010). The only caveat is for native English speakers who have serious language processing difficulties in their native language; in these cases, the decision for admittance is carefully considered on an individual basis. Further, according to members of the advisory panel that helped to develop Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education, students are typically not moved from the dual language program because of special education or learning disability needs. (p. 19)


I have another question that has not been answered.  Who should I contact?

Please contact Boulder Valley’s Department of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Program Assistant at 720-561-5214.