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Becoming Bilingual at the Hurley

With the goal of graduating students that are bilingual and biliterate, but also well-educated in every subject, the Hurley School has carefully crafted its bilingual model on the well-tested methods of Developmentally Appropriate Instruction. In this model, children are exposed to their second language in ways that best match their abilities and ensure the highest level of learning. To start, the Hurley provides our students with a solid foundation in literacy (reading and writing) in their dominant language, while offering other subjects in the second language. Once a student masters literacy in their dominant language, they learn to read and write in their second language. With this strong literacy foundation set in both languages, Hurley students then switch fluidly between Spanish and English in all subjects. Our approach in each grade is described below.


Students are completely immersed in Spanish. Teachers conduct the class throughout the day in Spanish, using visual reinforcement, movement, song, and the strategic use of English to reinforce understanding.

K2 and 1st Grades

Students begin their study of literacy (reading and writing) in their dominant language. Children who are reading and writing above grade level in their dominant language begin studying literacy in their second language in the middle of the year or if possible, earlier. The other subjects change languages based on the day, but the content moves forward regardless of language. The language of instruction on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday is Spanish. The language of instruction on Thursday and Friday is English. Every day children have time for play or “Choice Time” and this time is conducted in Spanish. Choice Time includes is student-directed and includes dramatic play, legos, play dough, blocks, art, puppets, dollhouse, games, and listening centers for songs.

Bilingual education is giving my son skills that will be with him the rest of his life. And at a school with incredible parental involvement, talented teachers, and a passionate administration — we’re thrilled to be part of the Hurley School!

Kim Foltz, parent

2nd – 5th Grades

Students are instructed following a 50/50 model, in which the language of instruction alternates week to week. One week students receive all their classes in Spanish and the next week, students receive all their classes in English. The content is not repeated; teachers plan together weekly so the curriculum taught by subject is uninterrupted.

6th – 8th Grades

In middle school, students change teachers based on subject, rather than remaining with their homeroom teacher for the majority of the day. Most subjects are taught in both languages, changing with each unit of study. For instance, students might learn about calculating the area of geometric shapes in Spanish. When that unit is complete and they move to the next topic, the instruction switches to English.