Bishop Elementary - Spanish Immersion


Welcome to Lincoln Spanish Immersion in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  This unique educational opportunity is offered in Lincoln Consolidated Schools. It is the longest running program of its kind in Washtenaw County and one of the few language immersion programs in Michigan.  We are proudly housed in Bishop Elementary School, home to Lincoln’s Multi-Age program which utilizes the HighScope model for curriculum delivery.

Is this program right for my child?

Most students enrolled in the program thrive, especially if they start in kindergarten. Our program has a very high student retention rate, but if you decide it is not for you, transferring to another class is simple. 

How difficult is the adjustment?

After an initial adjustment period, it tends to be quite easy. Keep in mind, that while there is a learning curve for SI students, it is very much the same for any kindergarten student. The first month or two is all adjusting to classroom and school routines and schedules. SI teachers use multiple learning and instructional strategies within this period to support and guide students learning a new language.

What if we don’t speak any Spanish?

There are numerous online services and apps (Google Translate, Babelfish, etc.) to help you, and your child, during their time in the program. One unexpected benefit of helping your child with their work is the amount of Spanish language knowledge you gain as well. The SI program also has an amazing parent support group and Facebook page to help with any questions or concerns you might have.

What about learning to read in English?

Your child will be taught to read in Spanish first. Trying to learn Spanish and English phonics at the same time can be very confusing, so focusing on Spanish initially is preferred. Your child will naturally begin to read English as well, and the best way to support your student is to continue reading in English at home.

How do students learn if the teacher is only speaking Spanish?

Teachers use a technique called Total Physical Response (TPR) which incorporates gestures, facial expressions, songs, video and sometimes a word or two in English to ensure students are comfortable and relaxed. Rest assured, in any emergency English is used.

Why Choose Bishop?

Bishop Elementary is home to both the Spanish Immersion and the Lincoln Multi-Age programs. Through both of these programs, Bishop offers a unique learning experience unlike other elementary and charter schools in the area.   

Bishop divides its K-5 students into Lower House (K-1), Middle House (2-3), and Upper House (4-5) classrooms. Students have the same teacher for consecutive years before moving on to the next house, fostering a stronger learning relationship between the teachers and students.  

In addition to their regular studies, students attend daily “specials” classes for further enrichment including: Physical Education, Music, Art, Technology, and Media Arts.  

The Bishop Multi-Age program delivers the State of Michigan Common Core State Academic Standards using the HighScope learning methodology.  

Lincoln Consolidated School District has been utilizing the HighScope methodology for curriculum delivery for over 15 years. Ever-increasing demand for the program led to Bishop Elementary becoming an entirely HighScope school in 2012.

What Is HighScope?

HighScope is a well-researched program with over 40 years of early childhood research to develop improved methods for curriculum delivery. These have been tested in classrooms over thousands of hours to evaluate effectiveness, with program improvement being  a constant goal.

HighScope utilizes the following concepts to meet and exceed educational goals:

Plan-Do-Review (PDR) – PDR sets children up for success in the future by allowing them to choose their activities with intention (Plan), executing their activity following their intention (Do), then reflecting on what they have learned (Review). This provides positive impacts on the learning process.

Adult-Child Interaction – Shared control is encouraged to create a supportive learning environment, where a balance is struck between freedom for a child to explore, with limits so children feel secure. Children initiate many of their learning experiences, and adults in the classroom act as partners in learning.

Active Learning – Research shows HighScope strategies produce deeper understanding of concepts.  The practice of planning, hands-on learning, and reflection on concepts allow them to be more deeply absorbed.

Why Choose Spanish?

  • Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language in the U.S., with an estimated 45 million people speaking it as a first or second language. Add in another six million Spanish language students at various levels, and you have nearly 17% of all Americans using Spanish in their daily lives.
  • Spanish is also the second most common natively spoken language worldwide, with an estimated 427 Million speakers. It trails only Mandarin in number of native speakers.
  • There are more Spanish-speakers in the U.S. than French, German, Italian, Japanese, varieties of Chinese, and Native American language speakers combined.
  •  Today, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by 38.3 million people aged five or older, more than twice the number of Spanish-speaking homes in the U.S. in 1990.
  • Translation services are one of the fastest growing business segments, with ever-increasing needs in areas such as the Life Science & Medical services, Finance, Information & Technology, Legal Services and Travel & Tourism markets leading the way.

Why Choose Immersion?

This unique educational opportunity is offered in Lincoln Consolidated Schools. It is the only program of its kind in Washtenaw County, and one of the few language immersion programs in all of Michigan. While traditional language lessons do help students learn a second language, Immersion Programs have generally produced better second-language proficiency results. The intensive exposure to the target language is important because it allows students quickly to reach the level of second-language proficiency required to study other subjects in the new language. Immersion students approach native-like levels in second-language listening comprehension and reading by the end of elementary school.

What Are the Benefits of My Child Being Bilingual?

  • Language Immersion students, while initially trailing traditional classes in testing during K-1 (due to students being tested in Spanish while not yet fluent), tend to catch up academically to their peers in grades 2-3, and then surpass their testing scores in grades 4 and 5.
  • Bilinguals also generally have a better appreciation for cultural differences, and are more prepared for future education and today’s job market.
  • The state requires two years of foreign language study in order to graduate, immersion students may be able to test out of those requirements.
  • Bilinguals are better able to analyze their knowledge of language, and understand the relationship between words and their meaning. They are able to focus more on meaning and take into account only relevant features when there is distractive information.
  • Bilinguals demonstrate more mental flexibility and perform better on tasks requiring mental manipulation. They’re original in verbal expression, demonstrate non-verbal intelligence and can answer open-ended questions more freely than monolinguals.
  • Evidence suggests that bilingual students are better able to understand the needs of others, and to respond appropriately. Exposure to cultural differences, allow them to be more respectful of different people and their cultures, and able to communicate with a larger variety of people.

What is the cost of the program?
Nothing…unlike many other schools, this program is offered at no additional charge by Lincoln Consolidated Schools.

Do the kids learn a different curriculum?
No, the kids learn the same programs as their English-speaking class counterparts…except the classes are taught in Spanish.

Do you accept school of choice transfers into the program?
Absolutely. We have students from many local districts in Washtenaw and Wayne counties enrolled in the Spanish Immersion program.