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Spanish Immersion Program

Manheim Township School District: Spanish Immersion Program (grades 1-6)

(Established in 1994-1995)

Immersion is a method of instruction in which the regular school curriculum is taught through the medium of a second language. In immersion classes, students learn subjects in the target language through a variety of techniques. The target language is learned concurrently with the curricular content.

“Total immersion is the most effective way of developing foreign language proficiency. The intensity of the immersion experience coupled with the amount of exposure to the foreign language ensures that students have the necessary language skills to deal with the curriculum as they proceed through the elementary grades.”  (Center for Applied Linguistics)

MTSD’s Spanish Immersion Program begins in first grade, with students learning the MTSD curriculum in Spanish, with complete immersion beginning in January. The Spanish Immersion Program continues through grade 6, followed by Spanish electives in grades 7-12. Spanish Immersion students who successfully complete the MTSD Spanish curriculum at the high school level with AP Spanish or IB II Spanish, or who complete the AP Spanish Exam with a score of 4 or 5 or the IB exam with a score of 6 or 7, will receive a red cord to wear at graduation.

If you are interested in this opportunity for your child, you should talk to your child’s kindergarten teacher about the program during conference times. (Note: Parents are asked to commit to the program through 6th grade, read and practice English daily at home, as well as encourage their child to become globally competent through the study of a second language.)

If interested, you will register your child online (usually in April) for the lottery. Your child’s kindergarten teacher will assess your child with readiness criteria necessary to enter the lottery for the program.

Criteria includes:

  • Benchmark in the English Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)
  • Proficient in reading English kindergarten sight words
  • Proficient in English letter recognition and letter sound
  • Proficient in numbers and operations
  • Participates in choral reading and interactive responses
  • Listens, follows instructions, and expresses thoughts easily
  • Proficient on district literacy assessments

Also, ask yourself if your child has the characteristics of a good candidate for the program:

  • Positive attitude
  • Confident
  • Works well with others
  • Enjoys reading
  • Risk-taker
  • Passion for learning
  • Strong work ethic- will persevere!

You will be notified of your child’s eligibility for the lottery during the end of May or beginning of June. The lottery will be held in June, with 25 students being selected from across the district. (Yes, we do provide transportation to Nitrauer Elementary, where the program is currently housed.)

Please remember that:

  • Your child will not miss the chance to learn a second language if he/she is not in the Spanish Immersion Program.
  • Manheim Township SD has many offerings (7-12) in World Languages for our students.

Questions? More information? You can visit MTSD’s homepage under Spanish Immersion or contact: Supervisor of the Dept of World Languages and the Spanish Immersion Program.


The Spanish Immersion Guidelines are available here.

Parental Commitment Form

The Parental Commitment Form for the Spanish Immersion Program is available here (PDF download).

Spanish Immersion Report

The first Spanish Immersion students graduated from high school in 2008. This study looks at what impact the Spanish Immersion Program has had on the students and the district.


Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition has many useful links on immersion education. There are online resources for teachers and parents of immersion students. There is also a link to a listserv dealing with immersion education. This organization publishes the ACIE Newsletter three times a year that has many useful articles dealing with curriculum and instruction in immersion education.

Center for Applied Linguistics
The Center for Applied Linguistics has a database of immersion schools as well as some articles of interest to immersion parents and teachers.


For more information, please contact Dr. Wendy Hancock, Nitrauer Principal (717-569-4239).