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Dual Language Immersion Programs in Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh

Dual Language Immersion Programs in Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh

North Carolina is home  to prestigious universities as well as exceptional K-12 education.  From private schools to public schools, North Carolina education is premier. Schools within the Triangle region constantly rank high on national lists, such as U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools List.  Contributing to these high marks are the dual language immersion programs that have been implemented locally and across the state.

U.S. News & World, in the past, has partnered with Research Triangle Park-based RTI (Research Triangle Institute) International to analyze school data. Just last year in 2016, 15 Triangle area schools were included on the Best High Schools list. What’s more is that East Chapel Hill High, Carborro High, and Jordan Matthews High all made that list. This just goes to show North Carolina is committed to pursuing academic excellence, and preparing students for successful careers. North Carolina is serious about education, and raising the bar.

dual-language immersionRaising the bar means providing “global education” that prepares students for the close-knit global community they will enter. Now, North Carolina schools aim to expand and deepen dual-language immersion programs throughout the state. Currently, there are over 120 programs within the state that offer dual-language immersion programs.

Dual Language Immersion

Developed over the last two decades, dual language immersion programs in North Carolina have only evolved. The focus of these programs is on encouraging and helping students to become proficient in a language other than English. Combining a secondary language (target language) with traditional education helps students master subjects in both languages. Research done by the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction shows that dual language programs:

  • Help students develop proficiency in their target language, as well as in English
  • Academic performance of these students hovers at, or above, grade level
  • Participants in dual-language programs demonstrate positive behaviors with cross-cultural attitudes

Schools all over the state are benefiting from dual-language immersion programs, from Charlotte to Chapel Hill. In fact, Jordan Matthews High School, which made the list of Best High Schools in 2016, provides dual-language immersion programs for students. So what does a dual-language immersion program look like?

There are four models of programs existing in North Carolina: developmental bilingual, full immersion, partial immersion, and the two-way model as well. Each model works to benefit the students of the school in particular. Which is to say, for example, the full immersion model works with mostly native-English speakers where their target language is used consistently, and constantly. Subject matter is provided in the target language. Incredible, right?

In the programs offered in North Carolina, there are seven languages offered. These languages include Cherokee, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Spanish, and Japanese.

Programs in the Triangle

Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools

  • Carborro Elementary offers Spanish
  • Culbreth Middle School offers Spanish
  • Frank Porter Graham Bilingual School offers Spanish
  • Glenwood Elementary School offers Chinese
  • McDougle Middle School offers Spanish and Chinese
  • Chapel Hill High School offers Spanish and Chinese

Chatham County

  • Chatham Middle School  offers Spanish
  • Jordan-Matthews High School offers Spanish
  • North Chatham Elementary offers Spanish
  • Siler City Elementary offers Spanish

Durham Public Schools

  • Southwest Elementary offers Spanish

Wake County Public School System

  • Hodge Road Elementary School  offers Spanish
  • Jeffreys Grove Elementary offers Spanish
  • Stough Magnet Elementary offers Chinese

If these programs interest you, here is a directory of program officials you can contact for further information on general topics, enrollment, or in-person meetings.

Program Success

Deeper learning promoted by dual-language immersion programs prepares students to succeed in a rapidly evolving world. The programs throughout the state report incredible academic achievement by students. Kindergarten teacher Jacqueline Saavedra explains why her school’s students consistently outperform other schools in the district. “I think it’s the cognitive power they build because they have learned to transfer from one language to the next. It raises their achievement in everything,” She says.

Assistant for global education in North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction reports, “They outperform their monolingual peers across the board.”

Chapel Hill and Carrboro City Schools are proud to offer dual-immersion programs. You can learn how to apply here.

Find the Best Neighborhood for You

At Real Estate Experts, we’re committed to providing the best local information to potential new Triangle residents. If you’re interested in learning more about the neighborhoods near these schools, Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at  [email protected].


Middle College Helps High School Students Succeed

Middle College Helps High School Students Succeed

MIddle College

Have you heard of Middle College? It’s an awesome alternative educational opportunity for high school students offered across the country, and we are fortunate to have two right here in the Triangle, at Durham Technical Community College and Wake Tech Community College. In addition, Alamance-Burlington Early/Middle College is available in nearby Graham, NC.

The Middle College Program concept was first established in New York in 1974. The original design for the school evolved from the work of Dr. Janet Lieberman, Professor of Psychology at LaGuardia in New York, who believed that a collaborative high school/college program could nurture the academic and psycho-social needs of at-risk urban youth with college potential. The Middle College Program is a collaboration between a high school district and a community college for high school students who are interested in a more independent learning environment, or at-risk students who can be surrounded by positive role models and reach their goals. This environment helps them acclimate to higher standards, become engaged in school, and be motivated to attend regularly.

Middle College Programs cover the cost of tuition, books, and fees, thus removing one of the most significant barriers to entry into higher education: price. The programs also help students to navigate the sometimes-intimidating college admissions and enrollment processes, with help applying to college; college fairs; college financial aid; PSAT, SAT, and ACT testing; college course opportunities, and scholarship opportunities. Students must apply to the programs, and must meet certain criteria to gain acceptance.

Durham Technical Community College’s Middle College Program

The Middle College High School (MCHS) program offered at Durham Technical Community College is a magnet school for juniors and seniors. Students take a combination of core high school courses and college courses to acquire credit toward an associate degree, four-year college, or an industry certification credential. The core classes are provided by teachers employed by the high school districts, while all the college courses are taken with college students at the community college. MCHS offers several unique advantages to students, including free college credit (students can graduate with a year–or more–of transferable college credit), small enrollment (maximum 200 students), a collegiate environment, and access to all Durham Tech facilities and services, such as libraries, labs, clubs, and dining services. Students also enjoy free tutoring resources offered by the college.

Durham Tech is located in East Durham off the Durham Freeway, at 1637 East Lawson Street. The main campus map is shown below.

Durham Tech Middle College Program

Wake Tech Community College’s Early College Program

Wake Tech Early College Program

Wake Tech Community College offers Wake Early College of Health and Sciences (WECHS) for students interested in pursuing a degree or career in the health science field. This program was launched in 2004 in partnership with the NC Community College System, the University of North Carolina, and the NC Department of Public Instruction as an opportunity to serve first-generation college students, those at-risk of dropping out, or other historically underserved populations, at no cost to their families.

WECHS is a rigorous five-year public high school program that allows students to earn their high school diploma and an Associate degree, college transfer credit, certificate, or prerequisite courses for a health sciences degree. For the first two years of the program, students take honors classes at the the Perry Health Sciences Campus at Wake Tech. For the next three years, students take both high school and college classes on the Northern Campus of Wake Tech.

Key advantages of WECHS include small classes (the school has a max of 400 students at all times), advice about their course of study from Wake Tech and WECHS academic advisors, job shadowing and internships at WakeMed (with potential for employment with the hospital system), and mentoring opportunities by WakeMed Health and Hospitals professionals. For the past three years, the school has earned an “A” on its NC Report Card. WECHS follows a traditional calendar and is located at 2901 Holston Lane in Raleigh.

Alamance-Burlington Early/Middle College Program

The Alamance-Burlington Early/Middle College (ABEMC) is a program located on the campus of Alamance Community College serving rising ninth graders through 12th grade, with the majority of high school courses taken during the first two years (Early College), and the final two years focused on college level classes (Middle College). As with all Middle College programs, the goal is to produce high school graduates with academic or career post-secondary plans firmly in place.

Alamance-Burlington Middle College

ABEMC is a small program (just 75 students are enrolled) where teaching is enriched by the use of technology in the classroom and project-based learning. Each student receives a computer and a MyMuvi PaceCamHD. Faculty all have Smartboards, laptop computers, and document cameras. The school, located at 1247 Jimmie Kerr Road in Graham, NC, follows a traditional calendar. For the past three years, the school has earned an “A” on its NC Report Card.

For more information about the Middle College Programs or any school district, please contact us at 919-813-6449 or [email protected]. Visit us online at



Traditional Schools Make a Comeback in Wake County

Traditional Schools Make a Comeback in Wake County


In response to slower-than-expected growth and a shortage of traditional calendar seats, the Wake County School Board is considering transitioning more and more multi-track year-round schools to a traditional calendar. In year-round schools, students attend school all 12 months of the year, with three-week breaks throughout the year. Traditional schools open in late August and end by early June, with summer breaks of 10 weeks or more.

Wake County had a large expansion of multi-track schools between 2007 and 2009. At that time, the district was projected to continue growing by 5,000 students a year. Year-round schools were advantageous because they save on the cost of building new schools by accommodating more students per building. But slower growth during the recession, opposition from some parents, and a lawsuit kept many of the year-round schools below their projected enrollments. Wake ultimately won the lawsuit in 2009 saying it didn’t need to get parental consent to send children to year-round schools.

Today, many of Wake County’s 37 year-round schools have empty seats, while families are complaining about a shortage of traditional school seats. As Wake has transitioned more year-round schools to a traditional calendar, the school district initiated a study of the year-round program, and found that the majority of traditional-calendar elementary and middle schools were over capacity. Additionally, the majority of year-round schools were under capacity.

Wake County parents have been vocal both for and against the year-round calendar. Some parents claim that Wake has already cut back too much on year-round schools (Wake has 14 fewer year-round schools this year than it has in 2009). Others have threatened to pull their kids out of traditional schools should they be changed to a year-round schedule. In addition, only one year-round school was part of the building program funded by a bond referendum voted on in 2013; the others were traditional calendar schools.

Currently, Wake County’s student assignment staff is recommending that River Bend Elementary in Raleigh make the switch to a traditional calendar next year. Student assignment staff will also make suggestions for changes to Track 4 year-round schools in 2018 and multi-track year-round schools in 2019.

The school board is also discussing the option of no longer offering a year-round school to every family, but to continue offering every family assigned to a year-round school the option to apply to a traditional calendar school. But the board won’t be making any decision regarding this until it receives more data from school staff. According to Wake County School Board Chairman Tom Benton, “We don’t have a preconceived idea of where we want to go. We’re not convinced we’re getting the efficiencies that people want us to have out of our multi-track year-rounds. We are interested in simplifying calendar options.”

For more information about Wake County schools, visit our website. If you have questions about schools in Wake County or other districts around the Research Triangle Region, contact us today at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  [email protected].


NC School Report Cards, Part 5: Charter Schools

NC School Report Cards, Part 5: Charter Schools


North Carolina schools have received their 2015-2016 School Report Cards, which provide school performance grades and data on student achievement, school safety and technology, teacher quality, and more.

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts Real Estate Experts will publish covering School Report Card results for school districts throughout Triangle.

In this post, we will explore the Triangle’s charter schools. Some North Carolina residents are unclear on the concept of the charter school. Charter schools are public schools, funded by state, federal, and local taxpayer dollars and subject to many of the same accountability and regulatory requirements as district or traditional public schools. Charter schools are unique because they operate under the supervision of a board of directors chosen by the school community, rather than a publicly-elected school board. Charter schools also have the freedom to employ innovative instructional methods and curricula, although the state still requires all charter school students to participate in the state testing program.


Lee Teague, executive director of the N.C. Charter Schools Association.

If a charter school is under performing, it can be shut down. According to Lee Teague, executive director of the N.C. Charter Schools Association, “Charters are being held accountable. If a charter scores a D or F performance grade and scores below 60 percent proficiency for two of three years, the school does not receive extra help like a conventional school deemed ‘low performing.’ It can lose its charter and be closed down.”

In addition to increasing the number of public school options available to families, charter schools are focusing on closing the achievement gap and raising the bar about what’s possible – and what should be expected – in public education. Charter schools are erasing low expectations and breaking through long-standing barriers that have prevented large numbers of at-risk students from achieving educational success.

Last year, more charter schools in Wake County earned higher School Report Card grades than their traditional public school counterparts. Out of 18 Wake County charter schools, 14 earned an A+, A, or B. Only half of the Wake County school system’s 167 schools received a B grade or higher during the 2015-16 school year.

In Durham County, Voyager Academy, Research Triangle High School, and Central Park School for Children each earned a B.

In Orange County, Woods Charter in Chapel Hill earned an A+, The Expedition School in Hillsborough earned an A, and Chatham Carter in Siler City and Willow Oak Montessori in Chapel Hill each earned a B.

For more information on charter schools, visit the North Carolina Public Charter Schools Association.

For a detailed report on North Carolina’s charter schools’ performance, you can search the comprehensive database provided on our website to see the grades schools received over the last three years and whether the school exceeded, met, or did not meet its expected academic growth.

North Carolina School Report Cards: Wake County

North Carolina School Report Cards: Wake County

North Carolina School Report Cards

North Carolina schools have received their 2015-2016 School Report Cards, which provide school performance grades and data on student achievement, school safety and technology, teacher quality, and more.

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts Real Estate Experts will publish covering North Carolina School Report Card results for school districts throughout Triangle.

According to Wake County Schools’ Report Card data, more students are passing state exams and graduating from high school this year. For the 2015-16 school year, the percentage of Wake County students that passed state exams in math, reading, and science rose to 67.9 percent from 66.8 percent the previous school year. Wake County Schools are well above the NC statewide proficiency rate of 58.3 percent.

Other encouraging news: the district’s graduation rate rose a full percentage point to 87.1 percent (compared to the statewide graduation rate of 85.8 percent). Half of Wake County Schools’ 26 high schools have a graduation rate above 90 percent, and 18 high schools’ graduation rates increased in 2015-16. Two Raleigh high schools, Sanderson and Enloe, had the highest jumps in graduation. Sanderson’s graduation rate rose 7.7 percentage points to 89.1 percent, while Enloe’s graduation rate rose 7.5 percentage points to 89 percent.At Raleigh’s Sanderson High School, 89 percent of seniors are graduating. “We’re addressing this issue really at the ninth-grade level and not really just taking a look at the seniors,” said Sanderson Principal Dr. Greg Decker. “We’re trying to be much more proactive than reactive.”


Wake County Superintendent Jim Merrill.

“Our graduation rate continues moving in the right direction, thanks to the hard work and perseverance of our teachers, staff, students, and parents,” said Wake Superintendent Jim Merrill. “As educators, we know the work is never finished. So we have recommitted ourselves to building on this progress as we continue to close in on our goal that, by 2020, we will annually graduate at least 95 percent of our students, ready for higher education or a career.”

Wake County also saw advancement in the number of schools meeting academic growth targets on state exams, with 68 percent meeting or exceeding growth expectations, up from 61 percent last year. According to Report Card data, Wake saw improvement on school performance letter grades, as well. Ten Wake County Public Schools received an A+, eight received an A, 66 received a B, 68 received a C, 14 received a D, and one an F.

Wake County schools that received an A include Apex High, Brassfield Elementary, Cedar Fork Elementary, Davis Drive Elementary, Davis Drive Middle, Green Hope Elementary, Green Hope High, Highcroft Elementary, Holly Grove Elementary, Holly Springs High, Jones Dairy Elementary, Leesville Road High, Lufkin Road Middle, Mills Park Elementary, Mills Park Middle, Morrisville Elementary, Panther Creek High, and Sycamore Creek Elementary.

Stay tuned for our next post in this series, which will cover the Charter School Report Cards.

You can also search the comprehensive database provided on our website to see the grades schools received over the last three years and whether the school exceeded, met or did not meet its expected academic growth.

NC School Report Cards, Part 3: Durham County

NC School Report Cards, Part 3: Durham County


North Carolina schools have received their 2015-2016 School Report Cards, which provide school performance grades and data on student achievement, school safety and technology, teacher quality, and more.

This is the third in a series of blog posts Real Estate Experts will publish covering School Report Card results for school districts throughout Triangle.

According to the Durham County Schools’ Report Card data, 69 percent of schools met or exceeded performance targets set by the state, and the percentage of students at or above grade level at the end of the year–44.9 percent—increased by almost one percentage point. The percentage of students who are career and college-ready rose as well, from 35 percent to 36.3 percent.

Third, fourth, and fifth graders saw gains this year in proficiency and college readiness, with the biggest jumps coming in math and science. Middle-school students, however, saw mixed results, with sixth and eighth graders declining. High school students saw gains in math and biology, though not in English. In 2016, of the 2,783 students tested in English, 46.4 percent were proficient, a decline of more than five percentage points from the previous year.


Durham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bert L’Homme.

“It is progress,” assistant superintendent Julie Spencer told the Board of Education. “[But] they are small steps, and we need giant leaps.”

“We took some important steps forward last year in academic achievement,” says Durham Public Schools Superintendent Bert L’Homme. “I’m proud of all of our teachers, principals, and staff who come into our schools every day committed to academic excellence for every child. But we will not be satisfied until we’re making giant leaps ahead. Our question this school year is how we can not only maintain our progress, but accelerate it.”

Four-year graduation improved from 80 percent to 82.1 percent. The statewide graduation rate was 85.8 percent.

There was some very positive news, that three public schools received an A+ (J.D. Clement Early College High, City of Medicine Academy and Mangum Elementary). One received an A (Middle College High), and three received a B (Durham School of the Arts, Little River Elementary and Morehead Montessori.)

High schools with significant increases in their graduation rate include Jordan High School (rose 6.6 percentage points to 86.2) and Durham’s Performance Learning Center (rose 12.3 percentage points to to 77.2).

Stay tuned for our next post in this series, which will cover the Wake County School District School Report Cards.

You can also search the comprehensive database provided on our website to see the grades schools received over the last three years and whether the school exceeded, met, or did not meet its expected academic growth.