Denver Language School

Denver Language School

Serves students in grades K–8
Denver, CO
A 4-minute video that gives the perspective of two students on the value of language immersion education

Program Description

The mission of Denver Language School (DLS) is to promote academic excellence and intercultural competence through language immersion. Founded in 2010, it is the only K–8 public early total immersion charter school in Colorado that offers Mandarin Chinese and Spanish and has over 830 students, evenly divided between the two languages. All of the teachers are native speakers of the language that is used in the classes they teach. 

Grades K–2: 100% of the academic day is taught in the target language, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. Specials, lunch, and recess are in English.

Grades 3–5: English is introduced in grade 3. Starting in grade 3, 80% of the academic day is taught in the target language, with one hour per day of English language instruction. In grades K–5, students have a special period every day (Art, Music, Gym, or Life Skills).

Grades 6–8: The division of language instruction in middle school is 50/50. English, Science, and electives are taught in English. Math, Social Studies, and Language Arts are taught in the target language. In middle school, students move from specials to electives. Electives include 3D Printing, Robotics, Musical Theatre, Drawing, Painting, Yoga, Sports, Shakespeare in Literature, and more. 

Student Outcomes

As a public school, DLS participates in all state and local assessments. DLS results from the 2018 Colorado Measure of Academic Success include the following rankings, compared to the other charter schools in the district:

  • #1 in 3rd grade Math 
  • #1 in 4th grade Math 
  • #1 in 7th grade English 
  • #2 in 4th grade English
  • #2 in 6th grade English
  • #2 in 6th grade Math
  • #4 in 7th grade Math

In addition, of all of the other schools in the district, DLS is one of the top ten middle schools for student scores in Math and English.

Program Highlights

DLS is passionate about providing students with a high-quality, meaningful, and effective language immersion education that gives them the tools to be compassionate, global citizens and thought leaders of the future with the ability to solve problems, think critically, and build bridges. 

Student opportunities include:

  • Mandarin Chinese and Spanish summer camps for younger students
  • International travel in middle school. In the 2018–19 school year, students have the option to travel to either Spain or China for 10 days in May. These trips are designed to be educational, culturally informative, an opportunity for students to practice their language skills, and fun! Students enjoy the opportunity to use their language skills in a native speaker setting, travel with their pers, and see the world as a global citizen. (This is the third year offering this opportunity. Students are responsible for their own travel costs, but the school offers scholarships.)
  • A community-wide Chinese New Year celebration
  • A community-wide Fiesta Hispánica event celebrating many Spanish-speaking cultures
  • Capstone project. All students in grade 8 participate in a Capstone project, one aspect of which must be done in the target language. The project has the same structure and purpose for students in the Spanish and in the Mandarin program. Each 8th grade student selects an area of study (e.g., Space Junk, Use of cellphones among teenagers, and Plastics Polluting the Oceans). Students are assigned a mentor whom they work with to develop their topic and projects that they create to demonstrate their learning. In April, at a Capstone Expo, students have the opportunity to display their work and answer questions.
  • Taking the Mandarin or Spanish AP exam. In 2017, DLS became a certified testing center for the AP exam, so that we could offer our students the Mandarin or Spanish AP exam. We are the only middle school in all of Colorado to offer an AP exam to its students. 

Program Contact

Camilla Modesitt
Director of Advancement

All Program Profiles

Profiles of specific early language and immersion programs.