Dual Immersion (DI) Program: A Pathway to Biliteracy in English and Spanish

ECESD Dual Immersion (DI) Program: A Pathway to Biliteracy in English and Spanish
The El Centro Elementary School District Dual Immersion offers a K-8 pathway to biliteracy, bilingualism, cultural proficiency, and high levels of academic achievement for each student. Our program helps prepare them for success in college and career as well as our ever changing global society. Our team includes students, parents, teachers, staff, and administration.  As a team, we provide opportunities for our students to grow and flourish as well-rounded citizens. 
Our district offers a 90/10 two-way Dual Immersion (DI) program in Spanish and English at three of our school sites: Lincoln Elementary and Harding Elementary and Wilson Jr. High School.
The program begins in TK or Kindergarten with 90% Spanish instruction. First grade is also instructed 90% in Spanish. There after, the program increases the English instruction by 10% per grade level until it reaches 50% English and Spanish in the 5th and 6th grades. in grades seventh and eighth, the program includes two periods of instruction with the target language being Spanish.
The DI program is a unique educational program designed to develop bilingualism and biliteracy in English and in Spanish, high levels of academic achievement, and cultural proficiency.  Instruction is provided by properly credentialed teachers. Students not only work on standards as required for every student in the ECESD, but in addition they will ultimately become fluent in two languages. 
Program Goals 
Bilingualism and Biliteracy - Students develop high levels of thinking, listening, speaking, reading, and writing proficiency in the English and Spanish languages.  
High Levels of Academic Success - Students strive for academic excellence in all subject areas, meeting or exceeding District and Common Core State Standards. 
Cultural Proficiency - Students develop positive attitudes and appreciation toward world languages and cultures in our global society, promoting their involvement in world issues. 
If you are interested in enrolling your child in our Dual Immersion program for Kindergarten, please contact our school principals to set up an appointment. 
For the 2023-24 school year, the district will be opening a DI Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class for all eligible students at Harding Elementary (for the 2023-24 school year, TK eligibility requires a child to turn five years old between September 2, 2023 and April 2, 2024). Application and acceptance to  the program is required.
Lincoln Elementary School
Lupita Perez, Principal
Harding Elementary School
Norberto Nunez, Principal


  • All students residing in the El Centro Unified School District may enroll in the DI program during the open enrollment period. The candidates will be considered on a first come first serve basis to meet program guidelines for the two-way model and achieve classroom balance. Research indicates that in order to have an effective program the class needs to be composed of a percentage of students who are Spanish dominant, and students who are English dominant to contribute to the development of both languages. This will be considered when selecting candidates to build the classes.

  •  Any student may apply to enter the program in Kindergarten. Any students requesting enrollment after kindergarten will be considered for enrollment on a case by case basis. Students may be considered for the program after Kindergarten provided they can demonstrate language skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the program. The principal, or designee determines placement. 
Open Enrollment for ECESD Residents 
  • As will all kindergarten enrollment for the District, enrollment takes place at the school.

  • Priority Enrollment is offered to siblings of students currently enrolled in the DI program. 
  • During Open Enrollment, families wishing to enroll incoming kindergarten students in Dual Immersion will need to petition for intradistrict placement to participate in the DI program. Transportation will not be provided for intradistrict students. 

Enrollment for non-ECESD Residents 
  • Families living outside of ECESD must request an Inter-district Transfer from their district of residence stating participation in Dual Immersion Program.

  • Once the Inter-district Transfer is approved, parents will need to register at the DI school. 

  • The Inter-district transfer process must be followed annually for continued enrollment in the ECESD DI program.  
Continued Enrollment in the Program 
  • Once enrolled in the DI program, students remain enrolled automatically unless dis-enrolled by the parents or the school. 

  • Disenrollment of a student will be done in consultation with parents and the principal and may involve other stakeholders. 

  • Families in the DI program at ECESD from outside of the district must renew their inter-district agreements annually to attend ECESD.