Rockford Public Schools Spanish Immersion Program is a comprehensive program K-12. This Total Immersion program provides students with content and language learning throughout their K-12 experience.  Our students are immersed in Spanish from Kindergarten through 5th grade, followed by the maintenance of Spanish language skills 6th–12th grade.

RPS is a Total Immersion Program:

Spanish Immersion at Rockford Public Schools is a full immersion program -100% Spanish.  As students advance through the Spanish Immersion Program, English Language Arts is introduced as follows

  • Kindergarten: 100% Spanish
  • 1st grade: 100% Spanish
  • 2nd grade: 80% Spanish, 20% English
  • 3rd grade: 75% Spanish, 25% English
  • 4th grade: 60% Spanish 40% English.
  • 5th grade: 60% Spanish 40% English.

Contact Information

Kathy Walcott

Dean of Spanish Immersion (K-12)
616.863.6374  ext. 6008

Jenny Bradley

Elementary Secretary/Spanish Immersion (K-5)

What Is Spanish Immersion Education? 

In this program, students will learn the district’s rigorous core academic program through instruction in Spanish. Spanish is the means of content instruction, not just a subject of instruction. Many research studies have shown the effectiveness of language immersion programs in language and cognitive development. Students in our Spanish Immersion program demonstrate evidence of growth in both English and Spanish. Standardized test scores and research indicate that the learning in Spanish does not inhibit learning in English. In most cases, the learning of a Second language increases the learning of the first language.

 Rockford’s Immersion program (K-12) begins with a 90/10 model. This means that the percentage of Spanish content instruction begins with 90% of the day. As a student moves through the grade levels, the percentage of Spanish decreases and the English content instruction increases. 

In addition to learning academic content in a second language, students’ eyes are opened to the beautiful diversity in our community and our world by learning about different people, cultures, and countries. 

The experience of learning in an immersion program helps students develop critical soft skills such as grit, perseverance, and problem solving as they navigate communicating in a second language.

Why We Believe in Spanish Immersion? 

  • Early language study results in greater skills in divergent thinking and figural creativity. (Landry 1973)
  • Children in effective early second language programs show overall gains on standardized tests of basic skills, and derive additional cognitive, social, and affective benefits. (Taylor-Ward, 2003)
  • Learning another language can enhance knowledge of English structure and vocabulary. (Curtain & Dahlberg, 2004)
  • Children that learn additional languages show greater cognitive flexibility, better problem solving and higher order thinking skills. (Hakuta, 1986)

In elementary school, students begin their journey toward bilingualism and biliteracy.  Students are taught core subjects in Spanish.  Formal English Language Arts learning begins in 2nd grade and increases gradually each year thereafter. Percentages of English instruction increase each year until 5th grade, in which the percentages of English and Spanish are equal; 50% English and 50% Spanish. 

Co-curricular classes such as music, art & physical education are taught in English.

  • During the Middle School years, the content areas studied in Spanish are Social Studies and Language Arts. The purpose of this is to explore and maintain students´ language ability. 
  • In 6th grade students are part of the Communications and Culture Magnet. Spanish classes include Spanish Language Arts and Social Studies.
  • 7th grade students take Spanish Language Arts and one trimester of Exploremos, a comparative language study of Spanish and English. 
  • 8th grade students take Social Studies in Spanish as well as Exploremos 2 (1 trimester), a continued in-depth look at Spanish and English. 
  • Foreigh Language Credits: By completing Rockford Spanish Immersion,  K-8th grade, students are able to earn 2 credits toward the High School World Language credit requirements.

Secondary Spanish Immersion Course Book

In grades 9 – 12 students begin to take courses that ensure maintenance and continued growth in Spanish. Students are in need of continued study to ensure linguistic capacity. These courses support the increasing demands of language learning as well as prepare students for upper level Spanish or other World Language courses. 

9th grade: World Studies (2 trimesters) *core

Students analyze the causes, sequences, and consequences of significant events in the last 1000 years of World History. This is a core subject and follows the curriculum and pacing of the English-led course, while spending more time on communicative and collaborative activities in-class to build language and content knowledge at the same time. 


10th grade: Sociology and Structures (3 trimesters) 

This course uses encounters with authentic literature and media to reinforce grammatical structures that students have been using since beginning SI, but may not always use correctly.  Additional focus is placed on language scenarios outside of the classroom, where students may have to interact formally or professionally with another speaker. Activities include frequent video-exchanges with students from Latin America, essay writing, and opportunities to use the language outside of the High School classroom.  Students should be able to exit this course ready to pass the Seal of Biliteracy and AP exams. 


11th grade:  Literature, Current Events and Careers (3 trimesters) 

This course is divided into 3 general themes: One per trimester. In the first, students will seek out a deep understanding of hispanophone culture through both independent and teacher led study of literature and film. In the second trimester, students will independently and cooperatively investigate the history and current affairs in the Hispanic community using sources directly from it. For the third trimester, the  course ends with work experiences in the Hispanic community of West Michigan and exploration of how to use Spanish in future careers. This course does not explicitly study the language, but rather calls on students to use their well-developed language abilities to deeply understand the world that Spanish connects them to in a rigorous, academic manner. 


12th grade: Senior Capstone (1 trimester) *elective


Secondary Spanish Immersion Course Book

Spanish Immersion Elementary Enrollment Process

Students enter the program through one of two ways:

1) Through Sibling

2021-2022 Enrollment Dates to Come

Families who currently have enrolled Spanish Immersion students are eligible for the sibling registration. Sibling registration begins on November 00, and ends December 00, 2020, at 4 pm. To register this way, families must bring the following to the school office:

1. Completed pre-registration form
Spanish Immersion Sibling Registration Form for Kindergarten
2. birth certificate (original, with raised seal)
3. and two proofs of residency*

*Acceptable Residency Documents: Current Utility bill within the last month, Mortgage statement, Lease Agreement (signed by landlord and tenant), City Assessor’s Tax Statement (current year)

All forms must be submitted in person.
If the pre-enrollment form is not submitted by December 00, 2020, at 4 pm, late submissions will be added to the in-district lottery.

2) Kindergarten New Family Enrollment Lottery

New student lottery registration begins Monday, January 6, 2020 and ends on February 7, 2020 at 4:00 pm.

Interested RPS resident families must bring the following information to the school office:

1. Completed pre-registration form
Spanish Immersion Pre-Registration Form, for 2020-21 Kindergarten
2. Birth certificate (original, with raised seal)
3. Two proofs of residency*

*Acceptable Residency Documents: Current Utility bill within the last month, Mortgage statement, Lease Agreement (signed by landlord and tenant), City Assessor’s Tax Statement (current year)

All forms must be submitted in person.  All forms will be given a letter when they are dropped off in the office. These letters will be used for the computer-generated lottery.
If the pre-enrollment form is not submitted by February 7, 2020, by 4 p.m., late submissions will be added to the end of the waiting list.

Lottery Process

The computer-generated, random lottery will be conducted at the RPS administration office on March 9, 2020. Acceptance and waitlist informational letters will be sent to families on March 16, 2020. Parents may inquire about the results on Tuesday March 10, 2020 after 10:30 am.

Once the lottery has taken place on March 9, 2020, a letter will be sent out to all applicants to notify them of their acceptance or placement on the waitlist.

Those who receive notification that they are on the waitlist will be informed in the letter of their place on the waitlist. In order to remain on the waitlist, the student must remain a resident in the RPS attendance area.

Rockford Spanish Immersion Information

Any additional questions please feel free to contact our Dean of Spanish Immersion Kathy Walcott at  or call 616.863.6374

  • Spanish Immersion Kindergarten Enrollment Parent Information Night

    January 9, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    This PARENT ONLY information session is the first step for parents interested in enrolling their future Kindergartener/DKer for the upcoming school year. Parents should attend this session to learn more about Kindergarten enrollment and Immersion education. Parents will get a chance to meet the Dean of Spanish Immersion and the kindergarten teachers. Parents will get a chance to watch a video of a classroom in action.

  • Immersion Classroom Tour

    January 15 and 17, 2020

    PARENT ONLY Immersion tours will be held at the school starting at 9:00 am or 1:00 pm and last 30 minutes. These tours are for parents who do not currently have a child already enrolled in Spanish Immersion at Roguewood. Parents will receive a tour of the building and possibly walk through a classroom to see the learning in progress. Parents must contact the school to sign up for one of these classroom tours.

  • Application Collection Period

    Monday, January 6, 2020 and ends February 7, 2020 at 4:00 pm.

    Applications for enrollment into Rockford Spanish Immersion must be dropped off in Roguewood’s front office between the above timeline.

  • Kindergarten New Family Lottery

    March 9, 2020

    There will be a lottery only if more applications are returned than is space available. The computer-generated, random lottery will be conducted at the RPS administration office.

  • Enrollment Status Notification

    Acceptance and waitlist informational letters will be sent to families on March 16, 2020. Parents may inquire about the results on Tuesday March 10, 2020 after 10:30 am

  • Sibling Kindergarten Screening

    Will be held on March 6th – times will be scheduled later

  • Kindergarten Screening

    Will be held on Thursday April 16th from noon to 6pm for all non-sibling SI students wanting to enroll in the SI program. A link to a sign-up genius will be on the main webpage when Kindergarten registration opens.

What some of our graduates have to say:

The Spanish Immersion program has offered me so much more in terms of connecting to individuals especially in terms of my college direction. Having a unique skill that allows me to communicate with countless people is something I am truly grateful to have”--Cat (2019)

“Spanish Immersion gave me an amazing gift that I carry with myself everyday. It has given me the tools to succeed in classes and given me a way to connect with the world on a different level. I have been able to travel and even take an internship in Mexico because of what the program has given me.” –Cole (2018)

Parent Testimonials

“We have always believed in offering opportunities for our children. We took a leap of faith and enrolled our oldest in RSI’s 1st year!! We have continued with all of our children and it has proven to be one of the best investments that we have made for our family.  Our children have not only learned to speak, read and write in Spanish, they have learned about culture, which has opened opportunities and awareness beyond our community for all of us.   We are grateful to ALL of our RSI educators and staff for their commitment and investment in what it takes to build a successful Spanish Immersion program for our students.”Tania and Chad Gordon (parents from the beginning of Rockford Spanish Immersion)

We are fairly new to the SI program, as our older two children attend traditional schools. But what I can tell you, is from our first school tour and meeting we knew the RogueWood SI program was a perfect fit for our boys!

Our experience with the SI program and staff has been a huge blessing to our family. Not just academically, but culturally, socially and emotionally.

We are so thankful to have such an incredible, in-district program accessible to our children. –Sara and Matt Pitzer