MANCHESTER – Manchester School District is thrilled to announce that we will launch an English-Spanish dual-language immersion program in fall 2024. The community is invited to a pair of informational sessions – one in Spanish and one in English – to be held October 4 at Memorial High School. 

In dual-language immersion programs, students receive instruction in both languages. The student population for this program will be a balance of native Spanish speakers and non-native Spanish speakers. The new offering will be open to students from across the district and will begin with two classes. When up and running, this program would be the only dual-language immersion program in the state of New Hampshire, and Superintendent Jennifer Chmiel Gillis said our students will greatly benefit. 

“A dual-language immersion program provides students with a unique opportunity to learn in a multilingual, multicultural learning environment,” Gillis said. “The challenging and engaging experience of building skills across two languages while also learning content knowledge and skills enhances cognitive development. I am so proud that Manchester is leading the way, and I’m excited for families and the community to learn more about this program.” 

Research shows that bilingual students exceed the achievement levels of their monolingual peers. Students who participate in dual language develop early cultural competency and are able to navigate in a multicultural world with ease. 

“We’re so excited that Bakersville School, right here in Manchester, will be the first school in the state to offer dual language, Spanish and English learning next school year,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “This announcement is yet another example of how our School District is leading the way for students and ensuring every young person in Manchester has access to a robust curriculum that will set them up for success in the future. I applaud the leadership of the Manchester School District, our educators, the Board of School Committee, and all those whose hard work made this possible.”

Manchester’s work on dual-language immersion is funded in part by a $250,000 Innovation School grant from the state Department of Education. 

“It has been one of my goals since starting as Commissioner of Education to introduce dual-language immersion programs into our educational portfolio,” said New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. “I am excited that Manchester has taken hold of this and will offer students this enriching opportunity that will gift the students multi-language capability that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.” 

The District’s team working on this project includes both school and district-level staff, with support from consultant Taju Educational Solutions. Bakersville Principal Kate DiBenedetto has been part of that planning process. 

“I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of the planning for the first, ever, dual-language immersion program, here in Manchester,” DiBenedetto said. “The research is clear that the benefits are tremendous. The team at the district is approaching this carefully and thoughtfully to ensure that both the program and our students are set up for success.”

The district’s consultant will lead the two informational sessions set for October 4, both of which will be held at Memorial High School and open to the public. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP using the link below. 

WHAT: Dual-language immersion information sessions
WHEN: Wednesday, October 4 – Spanish language presentation at 4:30 pm, English language presentation at 5:30 pm
WHERE: Memorial High School, 1 Crusader Way, Manchester
WHO: Anyone interested in dual-language immersion programming