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Bilingual Dual Language Program

The Bilingual Dual Language Program (one-way and two-way) in Milwaukee Public Schools prepares students to become literate in English and Spanish through the use of the Teaching for Biliteracy pedagogical framework (Beeman & Urow, 2013), which promotes and facilitates the development of two languages. This is accomplished through deliberate planning and instruction using three key components of Teaching for Biliteracy:

  • Building Oracy promotes the development of students’ speaking and listening skills in and across content areas, building vocabulary and background knowledge while providing an avenue through which students can process their learning.
  • The Bridge is the instructional moment when students are guided to engage actively in contrastive analysis by visually placing the two languages side by side “to transfer the academic content they have learned in one language to the other language” (Beeman & Urow, 2013, p. 151) and increase their metalinguistic awareness. This transfer is solidified through the Extension, the third component.
  • The Extension takes place in the partner language and provides students with meaningful, engaging, and novel ways to use the acquired academic vocabulary to deepen and extend their learning.

This framework promotes the development of language, literacy, and content in English and Spanish from kindergarten through grade 12, enabling students to achieve proficiency in both languages. 


To learn more, please see the FAQs below.

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  What is bilingual dual language education?

At MPS, a bilingual dual language education means that students will learn literacy and academic content in English and Spanish.

One-way bilingual dual language programs are for Spanish-speaking students who are learning English.

Two-way bilingual dual language programs also are for Spanish-speaking students who are learning English — but there is a slight difference.

  What makes one-way programs different from two-way programs?

One-way programs serve one language group:

  • English learners with a Spanish-speaking background

Two-way programs serve at least two language groups with a balanced population of students:

  • 50% native English speakers
  • 50% English learners with a Spanish-speaking background
  What makes them the same?

One-way and two-way program goals for students:

  • To achieve high levels of bilingualism (speaking/listening) and biliteracy (reading/writing) in English and Spanish
  • To reach high levels of academic achievement in both English and Spanish
  • To develop sociocultural competence, cross-cultural knowledge, and sense of identity

At MPS, the intention with both programs is not to replace one language with another but instead to promote learning and high achievement in both languages while also creating an understanding of and appreciation for both cultures.

As shown in the chart below, both programs provide the same learning structure for students. In five-year-old kindergarten, students receive 90% of their instruction in Spanish and 10% in English. That percentage increases gradually each year until grades 4 through 12, when students receive 50% of their instruction in Spanish and 50% in English. (Please note: ALBA school offers a different percentage structure for its language of instruction. See the FAQ question "Which schools have one-way programs and which have two-way programs?" for details.)

One-Way and Two-Way Programs
Grade Level Language of Instruction
  Spanish  –  English
K5 90%   –   10%
Grade 1 80%   –   20%
Grade 2 70%   –   30%
Grade 3 60%   –   40%
Grades 4–5 50%   –   50%
Grades 6–8 50%   –   50%
Grades 9–12 50%   –   50%
  Which schools have one-way programs and which schools have two-way programs?

K to Grade 5

Allen-Field Elementary School
Forest Home Avenue School
Lincoln Avenue Elementary School
Riley Dual Language Montessori — one-way in grade 5
Fratney School/La escuela Fratney
Riley Dual Language Montessori — two-way in K–grade 4


K to Grade 8

ALBA Academia de lenguaje y bellas artes
       K–grade 1 — 80% Spanish, 20% English
       Grade 2 — 65% Spanish, 35% English
       Grades 3–8 — 50% Spanish, 50% English
Anna F. Doerfler School
Greenfield Bilingual School
Albert E. Kagel School — one-way in grades 3–7 
H. W. Longfellow School
Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School
Rogers Street Academy
Vieau School/Escuela Vieau
Hayes Bilingual School
Albert E. Kagel School — two-way in K–grade 2


Grades 6 to 8

Audubon Technology and Communication Middle School
Wedgewood Park International School
Lincoln Center of the Arts


Grades 9 to 12

Alexander Hamilton High School — one-way in grades 9, 10
Casimir Pulaski High School
Riverside University High School — one-way in grades 9–11
South Division High School


Curriculum Specialists:

Bilingual Dual Language Program

Rocío Trejo
Phone: 414-475-8565

English as a Second Language Program

Sarah Borges
Phone: 414-475-8732

World Languages/Language Immersion Program

Solmaris González Chico
Phone: 414-777-7827

Supervisor, First Nations Studies:

Richanda E. Kaquatosh
Phone: 414-902-7313

Lau Compliance Center for
Testing Placement and Identification Process:

Maria G. Barba, Secretary
Phone:  414-475-8525
Fax: 414-475-8430

Director, Department of Bilingual Multicultural Education:

Lorena Gueny
Phone: 414-475-8091

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