Resources for school administrators

school principal Photo: Graham Oliver,


Administrators and leaders working in the educational sector – school principals, district superintendents, Department of Education’s supervisors for world languages, members of the school boards – can find in this section information on why to introduce a German dual language program in their school(s), what curricular models are adopted in other states across the U.S., how to connect to other schools with German dual language programs, and how to best support teachers and students.

Fabrice Jaumont, a well known expert in the field of dual language education, outlines the current situation and trends in American bilingual education.
Landscape of dual language education in the U.S.
There is a vast body of research documenting the significant positive impact that foreign language learning can have on student's personal, social, and professional life: from improved brain capacity and memory function to better academic and employment opportunities, not to mention increased cultural awareness and richer social networks. The Second Languages and Intercultural Council of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT) put together a comprehensive bibliography and literature review highlighting the latest research findings in the areas of cognitive and academic, personal and societal, intercultural, and economic impact of the second language learning.
There is a multitude of great reasons to add German to a repertoire of languages offered at your school. Here are just a few:

  • German companies account for 800,000 jobs in the U.S., and U.S. companies have created approximately the same number of jobs in Germany.
  • Germany is the third largest investor in the U.S., the fourth largest national economy worldwide and the largest in the European Union.
  • Knowing German can boost your annual salary in the U.S. by 4%, in Europe by even more.
  • 2,000 grants are awarded to U.S. students and professors annually to study and research in Germany.
  • Tuition is free at Germany’s excellent universities.
  • 233,000 foreign students are currently enrolled in 350 German Universities, about 12% of the entire student population. After the U.S. and U.K. this makes Germany the most attractive country for foreign students.
  • About 750 high schools in the U.S. have long-term exchange programs with schools in Germany. With GAPP (German American Partnership Program), more than 10,000 students visit each other every year.
Heritage and language
  • Over 50 million Americans claim German heritage, which makes them the largest single ethnic group in the United States.
  • German is the most commonly spoken language in the U.S. after English and Spanish.
  • There are more than 100 million German speakers in the world, not only in Germany, but also in countries such as Austria, Switzerland, parts of France and Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Denmark and Belgium.
  • German is the most widely spoken language in Europe. 18% of European Union residents speak German as their native language and 14% of all Europeans can speak German as a second language. German is also the most commonly used language on the Internet after English.

  • With 7,62 million foreigners currently living in Germany, it is the world´s top migration spot after the U.S.
  • Germany is a modern, cosmopolitan country. Its society is shaped by a plurality of life styles and truly different ethno-cultural diversity. 
If you would like to learn more facts and reasons why learning German will boost your students’ future, visit our advocacy portal Just Add German.
This presentation addresses the most frequently asked questions by the administrators about what, why and how of establishing a German dual language program at a school.
The educational community has used a variety of terms over the years to refer to schooling in two languages. Among them, dual language education and dual language immersion are used interchangeably as umbrella terms over other terms such as bilingual immersion, bilingual enrichment, developmental bilingual and heritage language immersion.  For the purposes of this project, we will use dual language immersion as the overarching term to emphasize that students are being schooled in two languages in an immersive setting.

The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) defines dual language immersion, or dual language education, in the following way: “In dual language education programs, students are taught literacy and academic content in English and a partner language. The goals of dual language are for students to develop high levels of language proficiency and literacy in both program languages, to demonstrate high levels of academic achievement, and to develop an appreciation for and an understanding of diverse cultures.“

The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) offers the following core characteristics  of dual language immersion:
  • Additive bilingualism with sustained instruction through the majority language (English) and the minority  language (e.g. German)
  • Subject area instruction through the minority language occurs for at least 50% of the school day during the elementary school years
  • Teachers are fully proficient in the language(s) they use for instruction
  • Support for the majority language  is strong and present in the community at large
  • Clear and sustained separation of languages during instructional time
In the U.S., we distinguish between two types of dual language immersion programs, one-way and two-way. The distinction is based on the differences in the student populations each program type predominantly serves.

One-way dual language immersion (also referred to as foreign language immersion): This type of program predominantly supports one “language group” of students (e.g. native English speakers) to become bilingual, biliterate and bicultural in an additional language, e.g. Chinese, French, German, Russian or Spanish. However, students whose home language is a language other than English also populate one-way programs. The home language might match the partner language, or it might be different from it, for example a student with Arabic language background might participate in an English/German dual language immersion program.

Two-way dual language immersion: Two-way dual language immersion programs serve two language groups together in the same classroom, one group that is English-speaking and another that uses a language other than English as its dominant home language. “Two-way” signals that these two language groups, English and for example German, move simultaneously towards each other’s languages. To serve both language groups equally well, either group should make up no less than one third of the classroom.

Other terms that may be used for two-way dual language immersion include bilingual immersion, bilingual enrichment, and developmental bilingual. However, bilingual enrichment is often used for programs with less than 50% of the school day taught in the partner language. Also, we typically refer to programs as developmental bilingual if they are mostly populated by English learners rather than two equally represented language groups.
The structure of one-way and two-way dual language immersion programs varies, but they all provide at least 50% of instruction in the partner language at all grade levels beginning in pre-K, Kindergarten, or first grade and running at least five years, through grade 5 but preferably through Grade 12.

Further terms and their definitions can be found on the pages of Two-Way Immersion Outreach Project by Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL).
Currently many states and districts across the country are expanding their dual language offerings. Several states have instituted state-wide policies related to dual language and bilingual education, with some mandating specific program models or articulated program expectations. The following states offer a comprehensive overview of their policies and program outcomes and feature resources and information about dual language education:
In addition, the following states adopted the Seal of Biliteracy, an award given by a school, district, or state in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation:
Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
Are you interested in learning more about bilingualism, its benefits for individuals and society, the current state of bilingual education in the U.S., or the practical aspects of raising multilingual children? We have compiled an annotated bibliography that addresses these and other topics in the field of second language learning, teaching, and policy making.  

Are you ready to introduce German at your school?

Initiating a dual language program requires careful long-term planning and complex interlocking decisions. On our portal we provide you with a road map to establishing a program, an overview of most commonly used curricular models, common quality standards, and possible program outcomes. Read on!

National Association for Bilingual Education

Bilingual education advocacy, resources and professional development for teachers, connection to dual language programs across the country

Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)

Immersion education resources: Publications, bibliographies, research projects and findings, professional development for teachers