Two students in art class working on building shapes out of clay.

Holyoke Public Schools offers families a program choice that gives students the opportunity to learn in both English and Spanish. In this innovative Dual Language program model, students are taught all grade level subjects in both languages every day. The goal of the program is for students to reach high levels of academic achievement, bilingualism, and biliteracy in a safe and engaging learning environment that values multiculturalism while preparing students for college and career.

For the 2023-24 school year, E.N. White will offer Dual Language for grades PreK-5, and Kelly will offer Dual Language for grades PreK-3. Kelly will continue to grow one grade level per year until the program is offered in grades PreK-5. Sullivan Middle School will host the middle school Dual Language pathway, while Holyoke High School North will host the high school Dual Language pathway.

“The dual language program is right for all students, including children who are Spanish dominant, English dominant, already bilingual, not yet exposed to either language, on an IEP or not on an IEP,” said HPS Associate Director of Multilingual Learning Laura Espinoza-Mufson. Students entering preschool must be 4 years old on or before September 1, 2023 to be considered for the Dual Language program. All students applying for grades 2 and up will be evaluated to determine their verbal, written, and reading level in Spanish. Those students must meet the Spanish language criteria for the grade they are applying to in order to be accepted into that grade.

Students seeking admission to the Dual Language Program can apply through three lottery rounds.

  • Round 1 opens on February 13 and closes on March 31, 2023. This round is open to all students across the district, but priorities will be for siblings currently enrolled in the dual language program, children of HPS employees, and residents of the E.N. White and Kelly zones.

  • Round 2 opens on April 1 and closes on May 19, 2023. This round is open to all students across the district.

  • Rolling admission opens on July 22, 2023 and is also open to all students across the district.

In making enrollment decisions, HPS aims to accept an equal balance of students that are Spanish-dominant speakers, English-dominant speakers, and bilingual speakers.