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Dual Language Program at Dessie Evans

Do you have questions about our Dual Language Program? Please email [email protected] for answers!


PSD Dual Language Mission:  Puyallup’s Dual Language Program honors, develops, and empowers multilingual, multiliterate and multicultural students.

PSD Dual Language Vision: Puyallup’s Dual Language Program is established from researched-based best practices for the purpose of:

  •  - closing the achievement gap for historically underserved students

  •  - building prestige for all languages

  •  - restoring the appreciation of a culturally diverse community

  •  - providing rigorous and culturally responsive teaching

  •  - fostering and celebrating diversity among students and their families

  •  - enriching and strengthening the entire student body through school-wide community-centered experiences

Rigorous, responsive, restorative, research-based

The Puyallup School District is proud to have joined a select number of school districts in our state providing elementary age students the opportunity to develop a second language beginning in elementary school.  The Spanish Dual Language Program is designed so that students completing the program are:

Biliterate: Able to speak, read and write at advanced levels in both English and Spanish reflective of their age.

Bicultural: Able to be more flexible, process perspectives from multiple viewpoints, and more easily make cross-cultural connections.

Academically Oriented: Able to perform at or above same grade level peers in academic subjects as well as standardized assessments by intermediate grades in elementary school.

If you are interested in an academically challenging and enriching dual language program for your child, there is a mandatory information night for parents of incoming kindergartners. Please contact either Dessie F. Evans Elementary or Karshner Elementary for date and time.   

Dual language programs bring together native Spanish speakers and native English speakers in two different languages where each is immersed in a new language. Core Instruction is carefully designed and conducted in Spanish and then transitioned to English as students progress through the grades. By grade 5 students are anticipated to complete academic work in both English and Spanish. The program model results in both groups of students having the opportunity to become literate (reading and writing) and fluent (speaking) in both languages.

There are a variety of two-way dual language programs.  The Puyallup School District has selected a 80/20 dual language program model based on proven research identifying it as the most effective in terms of students becoming academically biliterate for both English and Spanish speakers.  The benefits of a 80/20 model include, but are not limited to:

  •  - Higher levels of second language proficiency when enrolled in a 80/20 model when compared to other bilingual or English mainstream programs

  •  - Students rate their bilingualism higher when in a 80/20 program

  •  - There is a greater measurable difference in Spanish reading achievement between the 80/20 model and other programs

  •  - Students in our Dual program k-5 will emerge with both Spanish and English Language proficiency in literacy and all content areas.They will be  able to effectively use both languages in all forms of communication.


Click to view more detailed information about our Dual Language Program  (en español)


Dual Language Program Literacy Materials

An 80/20 model is identified as the most effective and supported in terms of language acquisition. This requires Spanish as the language of instruction for Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. The Dual Language Program will be using the Spanish version of the Mathematics Program (Bridges, Number Corner) and Science (Pearson).
Bridges in Mathematics                      Number Corner
A common mathematics curriculum will be used in both dual language and regular English classrooms.

Bridges in Mathematics is a comprehensive K–5 curriculum That was adopted during the 2018-2019 school year.  The Bridges in Mathematics program provides academic standards-based materials in both English and Spanish.

Number Corner is a calendar-based math skill-building program providing daily practice for students.  Although there is some material in Spanish, the main instructional delivery is intended to be group discussions and verbal engagement which will be conducted in Spanish following the 80/20 program model.

Students in the dual language program have access to multiple instructional materials for Spanish Language development.  Highlights of the curriculum include:

Benchmark Adelante

Benchmark Adelante:  Grades K-1 provide support for accessing Spanish Core lessons through enhanced visual support and scaffolded instructional strategies for unpacking meaning, deconstructing text, and learning vocabulary.  Spanish language development lesson support Spanish learners in making informed choices on how to use language appropriately through engaging activities that demonstrate how the Spanish language works.


Descubre has a focus on cultural literacy which assures exposing students to multiple countries and settings.  This program engages students just beginners Spanish to heritage speakers


Estrellita is designed for students in Dual Language classrooms. Based on scientific learning and reading principles specific to Spanish, Estrellita provides multisensory instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency. 

 Time for Kids

 The Time for Kids parallel readers also help with the vocabulary development for both Spanish and English speakers.  Reading skills are developed gradually using leveled readers, provides students a model of fluent reading with audio recordings of each book, and includes digital support materials for blended learning

It’s understood that acquiring a second language takes time and effort.  Nevertheless, it’s amazing how quickly our students are able to show progress.  Dean H., one of our current kindergarteners at Karshner Elementary, is showing what he knows at home and was recorded by a very proud parent this last mid-September…Dean has made even greater gains throughout the school year!

Learning how to truly speak, read, and write in a second language requires time and effort.  The opportunity to acquire a second language is greatly influenced by specific commitments to the dual language program from parents.  These include a commitment to:

  •  - Long-term participation in the language immersion program (K-6)

  •  - Volunteer in the classroom or school event

  •  - Attend dual language parent advisory committee meetings

  •  - In addition to homework completion, read with your child daily (in their native language)

  •  - Encourage the use of Spanish outside of school

 Application Process

Creating an effective dual language program requires authentic interactions between native speakers of both languages.  The Dual Language Program will seek a classroom balance with 50% students whose primary language is English and 50% whose primary language is Spanish. To achieve this balance, admissions will be based as prioritized below. Complete the Dual Language Request for Placement form.

1. Selection of Spanish speaking students are prioritized to assure having Spanish speaking models.

2. Spanish and English speaking students residing within the school boundaries of Dessie Evans Elementary and Karshner Elementary will have first consideration

3. Second round consideration will be for Spanish and English speaking students who reside within the school district but are outside of the school boundary.  Parents are responsible for transportation and must complete the in-district choice application process

4. Third round consideration will be for students living outside of the Puyallup School District.  Parents are responsible for transportation and must complete the out-of-district application process

5. Students not placed as a result of this admission process will be put on a waiting list for the first year. 

Once students are admitted to the program, they will have continued placement each year without having to reapply. Entry for the program begins at the Kindergarten level. 

Admission into the program after kindergarten will be determined on an individual basis.  Students whose first language is English may be enrolled in the program in first grade on a trail basis.  Students moving to the Puyallup School District who were enrolled in a dual language program in their previous district will have consideration to enroll in the dual language program.