INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE)  announced that a record number of schools statewide will be receiving grants to establish or expand dual language immersion programs as part of Indiana’s Dual Language Immersion Program.

The program provides grants to school corporations that establish or expand dual language immersion programs in Mandarin, Spanish, French or other languages approved by the IDOE, according to a news release from the IDOE.

“Dual immersion programs provide Hoosier students with a head start on developing important language and cultural knowledge that will help them thrive in today’s rapidly changing, global economy,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education. “Research shows when students begin these programs at an early age, they develop enhanced cognitive skills and also improve their performance in other academic areas, helping close achievement gaps and prepare students for additional pathways to lifelong success.”

For the 2021-22 school year, 18 school districts were together awarded $425,000. This includes 15 school districts receiving funds to expand their programs, and three districts receiving funds to launch new programs.

Local school corporations receiving grants for new programs include Manchester Community Schools.

Local school corporations receiving grants for expanding programs include Warsaw Community Schools.

Created in 2015 by Senate Enrolled Act 267, Indiana’s dual language immersion program provides grants to schools to either establish new dual language programs or introduce new languages into existing programs. Those programs must begin in either kindergarten or first grade and use an instructional model that provides at least 50% of its instruction in a target language and the remaining percentage of instructional time in English.

The news release states, “Research shows that students enrolled in dual language programs gain a higher proficiency in schools’ core curriculum and develop stronger skills in native and second languages than students in traditional programs. These programs also help close achievement gaps for English language learners and students from diverse backgrounds.”