SFPS Approved Bilingual Programs

Santa Fe Public School Approved Bilingual Programs

Please see the Bilingual and Multicultural Education Program (BMEP) descriptions below for more information regarding each program model.


El Camino Real Academy/ A SFPS Dual Language Focus School

  • Two-way Dual Language Model Grades K - 8

Amy Biehl Community School

  • Early Exit Transitional Model Grade 4

Capital High School

  • Heritage Model Grades 9 - 12

Cesár Chavez Elementary

  • Two-way Dual Language Model Grades K - 5

Edward Ortíz Middle School

  • Heritage Model Grades 6 - 8

Kearny Elementary

  • Heritage Model Grades K - 2
  • Two-way Dual Language Model Grades 3 - 6

Milagro Middle School

  • Heritage Model Grades 7 - 8

Ramirez Thomas Elementary

  • Heritage Model Grades K - 2

R.M. Sweeney Elementary

  • One-way Dual Language Model Grades K - 5

Salazar Elementary

  • Heritage Model Grades K - 1
  • Two-way Dual Language Model Grades 2 - 6

Santa Fe High School

  • Heritage Model Grades 9 - 12


Dual Language Immersion Model  New Mexico’s dual language immersion model is designed to develop bilingualism and bi-literacy in two language - English and a partner language.  The major goals of the dual language immersion model are for students to develop full proficiency in both languages, including literacy, cross-cultural understanding, and proficiency in academic achievement (at or above grade level).

There are several variations for designing a DLI program that best meet the needs of the students served.  One important design feature is related to the languages of instruction. 

One-way DLI model  When there is one group of students sharing the same home or heritage language (L1), the program is considered a one-way dual language program.  the L1 may be English or a language other than English.  Typically in this model, English Learners (ELs) are developing their L1 while learning English as a second language (L2).  However, there are also one-way dual language programs designed for students whose primary home language is English (L1) and who are learning a second language (L2).

Two-way DLI model  When two (or more) groups of students are learning the two languages, that program is considered a two-way dual language program.  In this case, not all students have the same L1 - some students will have English as their L1 while other students will have the partner language as their L1.  In a two-way dual language program, students - whose L1 is English - learn the partner language as L2.  Whereas, students whose home or heritage language is L1, learn English as L2.  In this case, both types of students will learn L1 and L2, becoming bilingual and bi-literate.  Since each group is a native-speaker of their L1, they serve as a natural language model of a proficient speaker of that language.  Each group is not only the language model for the other group, but each student is also a second language learner working to acquire high levels of proficiency in their L2.  Thus, the partnering of two language groups in the model emphasizes collaboration, which creates the opportunity for cross-cultural skill development. 

Another consideration is designing the DLI program pertains to the proportion of instruction in each language.

80/20.  While a DLI program may use either a one - or two-way model, a 80/20 model refers to a DLI program that begins at Kindergarten with 80 percent of instruction in one of the languages.  This means the partner language is targeted for 80 percent of instruction time (in all subjects), while instruction in English is provided for the remaining 20 percent of instruction time.  at each subsequent grade level, this proportion is incrementally altered until a 50/50 proportion (half the instructional time) in each language is reached.  This proportion is reached by 3rd grade and is maintained for each successive grade level.

50/50.  Schools may also use a 50-50 model.  In this configuration, the proportion of instruction in each language is equal from the beginning of a students’ school career in kindergarten and is maintained at this level in the two language at all subsequent grade levels.  The minimum amount of time that must be provided for the home or heritage (target) language instruction is three course periods per day (three hours), or half of the curriculum (based on a six-hour school day).  That is, all students must receive language arts instruction in the home or heritage language, paired with an additional two courses (hours) of either content area or fine arts instruction.  The other three hours of instruction are conducted in English.  For ELs, one of those hours must be English Language Development, above and beyond the core English Language Arts instruction provided to all students.

Heritage Model   The heritage language model is designed to provide language instruction to students in the home or heritage language of their family or tribe.  When students enter the program, they may be fluent in their home language, or they may have lost their language with generational changes.  The goal is to halt home language loss and ultimately recover (or newly develop) native proficiency in the language (Wiley, 1996).

Listening, speaking, reading, and writing (where applicable) skills must form a defined component of the program, and many aspects of the home culture of the heritage language students must also be included.  An immersion method is recommended approach for developing fluency.  Instruction is most effective when it is community based, with a long-term commitment starting in the home, reaching through childcare, preschool, elementary and secondary schools, and the university (Wang X. e., 1996).  When Els are served through a heritage language BMEP, they must also be provided one hour of ELD instruction beyond English language arts instruction.

Transitional Model  The transitional model is designed specifically for ELs.  It is an appropriate placement for students who speak a language other than English and who are not yet proficient in English (i.e., students who have not yet achieved a 5.0 composite score or greater on ACCESS for ELLs or ACCESS for ELLs 2.0).  The program provides instruction to Els in their home language and in English.  The transitional model is designed to prepare Els to transition to the district’s all-English general education program.  Thus, an effective transitional model ensures that Els develop the academic language necessary to achieve English language proficiency.   Additionally, Els must be provided grade-level access to content - with appropriate sheltered instruction that includes scaffolding and a suitable level of linguistic supports - that prepares them to meet the state’s academic standards.  When students exit the transitional BMEP, all subject matter is taught entirely in English.

By design, an EL program that does not provide an y instruction in the student’s home language is not a BMEP; it is therefore not supported with BMEP funding.  Since a transitional model is a BMEP, it must provide at least one hour of language arts instruction in the student’s home language and one hour of ELD instruction above and beyond core English language arts instruction.  Els in transitional model BMEPs may also receive an additional hour of daily instruction in the home language.  This third hour of instruction can be provided in the fine arts or a content area that is not English language arts. 

Early-exit models  This type of transitional model refers to a short-term program, typically only one to three years.  Over the years, research has demonstrated that intermediate levels of proficiency take approximately two to three years to develop, while full proficiency can be achieved with an additional three to four years (Goldenberg, 2008; Goldenberg, 2013.  Other prominent researchers in the field discuss English language proficiency in terms of oral language proficiency developing within two to five years whereas academic English proficiency develops within four to seven years (Hakuta, Butler, and Witt, 2000).  Thus, early exit or short-term programs may not allow sufficient time for Els to adequately build foundational literacy skills in English or the home language which would support the development of academic English.

Late-exit models  In contrast, late-exit transitional models function more like maintenance BMEPs, since both models require daily language arts instruction in the home language as well as ELD instruction.  With a sufficient amount of time and effective instruction, Els can achieve English language proficiency and then be transitioned to the district’s general education program after four to six year.