Utah Chinese Dual Language Immersion Program

Utah Chinese Dual Language Immersion Program

Currently serves students in Grades K-7
Plans to serve students in Grades K-12

Watch a video about the dual immersion program.

Watch a brief video of a student in a 2nd-grade Chinese dual immersion program at Draper Elementary School in Utah (whose teacher is Mr. You Yinyao), describing his bedroom for us.

Program Leaders

Utah State Office of Education (USOE)
Gregg Roberts, World Language & Dual Language Immersion Specialist
Stacy Lyon, Chinese Dual Language Immersion Director
Lois Lovell, DLI English Partner Teacher Director

USOE Chinese DLI Support Team
Tessa Burton
Weixin Le
Jayne Young

Program Description

The Utah Chinese Dual Language Immersion Program is in place in the following 12 districts (38 public and private schools and 1 charter school): Alpine, Box Elder, Cache, Canyons, Davis, Granite, Jordan, Nebo, Provo, Tooele, Washington, Weber, Renaissance Academy. The program involves over 7,500 students and 160 teachers.

The program is part of a broad state initiative that involves instruction in several languages. In 2008, the Utah Senate passed the International Initiatives (Senate Bill 41), creating funding for Utah schools to begin Dual Language Immersion programs in Chinese, French, and Spanish. In addition, then-Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. initiated the Governor’s Language Summit and the Governor’s World Language Council, both with a goal to create a K–12 language roadmap for Utah.

These groups aimed to address the need for language skills in business, government, and education. In 2010, current Governor Gary Herbert and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Larry Shumway issued a challenge to Utah educators to implement 100 Dual Language Immersion programs throughout Utah by 2015, with the goal of enrolling 30,000 students. Due to the early success of the program and public demand, Governor Herbert and State Superintendent Shumway moved the target completion date to 2014, with a continuing goal to mainstream Dual Language Immersion programs throughout the Utah public school system. Portuguese was added to the program in the 2012–2013 school year, followed by German in 2014–2015, and plans are in place to add Russian in 2016–2017.

Elementary School Program

The Utah Chinese Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Program uses a 50/50 model, in which students in grades K–6 spend half of their school day in the target language and the other half in English. All state-sponsored DLI schools are required to implement this model and use two teachers: One who instructs exclusively in the target language for half of the day and a second who teaches in English for the remainder of the day. Most school programs begin in 1st grade, with only a small number starting in kindergarten, as kindergarten is typically only a half-day program.

Division of Instruction

Pie charts showing how content subjects are divided between the two classes in grades 1–6 as well as in secondary school.


Specific proficiency targets are set for each grade level in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The YCT/HSK achievement tests are used in conjunction with the Assessment of Performance for Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL) test to assess students in grades 2–6 on an annual basis.

Secondary School Program

The Utah Dual Language Immersion Program offers two courses in grades 7 and 8. These include a course in Honors Chinese and a course in Chinese Culture and Media. An optional 8th grade capstone project conducted in China is incorporated into the 8th grade experience.

Students are expected to enroll in Advanced Placement language coursework and complete the AP exam in either the 9th or 10th grade. In the future, students in grades 10–12 will be offered upper-division university-level coursework through blended learning with six major Utah universities. Upon completion of high school, students will have earned nearly enough credits to have a minor in Chinese.

Program Contact

Stacy Lyon
Utah Chinese Dual Language Immersion Director

Other Featured Program Profiles

  • profile
    Located within the Verona Area School District, currently the only public Chinese Immersion Charter School within the state of Wisconsin. Founded in 2010 and serving students in Kindergarten through grade 5.
  • profile
    Virtual Virginia is a program of the Virginia Department of Education, which offers Advanced Placement (AP®), world language, core academic, and elective courses to students across the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S.
  • profile
    The Cupertino Language Immersion Program (CLIP) is a Grades K–8 program in the Cupertino Union School District of Santa Clara County, California, and provides two-way immersion education in English and Mandarin for nearly 600 students.
  • profile
    The International School of Denver is a private, multicultural, multilingual school, which serves 700 students from age 3 to grade 8 in an inclusive, globally minded community.
  • profile
    Denver Language School is the only K–8 public early total immersion charter school in Colorado that offers Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. The school opened in 2010 and has more than 830 students.
  • profile
    The Georgia Department of Education oversees more than 1.7 million students in 212 school districts. In the 2017–18 school year, 7,107 students from 57 districts were enrolled in Chinese language courses.
  • profile
    Presidio Knolls School in San Francisco is an independent pre–K–8 grade school where the convergence of progressive education and Mandarin immersion ignites curiosity, connectedness, and engagement in the world.
  • profile
    Greenville Public Schools is a rural district in West Michigan that has been offering Mandarin immersion to our students since 2012. Our staff, community, and families work together to ensure that our immersion students receive the education necessary to participate as responsible global citizens in an ever-changing world.
  • profile
    The Forest Hills Public School District serves approximately 10,000 students. The Mandarin Immersion Program, which began in 2008, brings together Eastern and Western culture in order to provide a rich academic, linguistic, and cultural experience for students.
  • profile
    Post Oak Academy is a PreK–6 International Baccalaureate Chinese immersion public school in Lansing, Michigan. Supported by a unique array of community partners, the school delivers extraordinary learning outcomes for all students.

All Program Profiles