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Program Overview

Teaching Bilingual Spanish (K-6)

Teaching bilingual Spanish is your opportunity to ensure academic success for students who bring rich diversity and varied cultures into the classroom. Approximately 14,500 of Denver Public Schools students are English Language Learners – 20% of the total student population. Of this group, 13,337 are Spanish speaking students; the remaining 1,113 students come from one of 86 other language heritages. This diverse student body presents both opportunities to enrich our diverse experiences, communities, and learning environments… and challenges to ensure that each of these students not only masters language acquisition but also content knowledge. Fellows teaching in a bilingual Spanish classroom will accept these opportunities and challenges in holding their students to high expectations.

The amount of Spanish that Fellows will use in the bilingual classroom depends on the grade that they teach. More Spanish is used in first grade than in fourth, for example. The chart below outlines examples of possible language allocation in a bilingual classroom:

1st 180 mins. Spanish/phase in English 45 mins. 30 mins. Spanish/phase in English 60 mins. Span/15 mins. ELD 45 mins. English
2nd 180 mins. Spanish/phase in English 45 mins. 30 mins. TC* 50 mins. Span/25 mins. ELD 45 mins. English
4th 180 mins. TC* 45 mins. 30 mins. English 50 mins. English/25 mins. ELD 45 mins. English

* Transitional curriculum: Deliberate increase of English instruction using a transitional curriculum.
Numbers represent minutes of instruction per day


At the elementary level, a bilingual Spanish classroom’s goal is to ensure that students master content knowledge as their exposure to English is gradually increased. Fellows will work to ensure that their students meet and exceed proficiency on the standardized Colorado English Language Assessment (CELA). As educators, Fellows are charged with preparing their students for success by setting and meeting rigorous academic goals. Fellows may collaborate with other department members and teachers at their school sites, and will also benefit from a network of other Teaching Fellows – a cohort of colleagues available to share challenges, best practices, and ideas.


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