St. sebastian school logo west los angeles catholic school

St. Sebastian School, West LA

Pre-K to 8th Grade. Dual Language Immersion

Dual Language Immersion

(English & Spanish)

TK  – 8th Grade (age 4 – 13) is a 50-50 model

How Does The Dual Language Program Work?

TK-8 is a 50-50 model. Students spend half the day learning in English and half the day learning in Spanish. By being taught not just language fundamentals but academic subjects, gain both languages while not losing a step in their studies.  For example, students study math in Spanish while learning history in English. By being taught not just language fundamentals but core academic subjects in two languages, students learn both languages without losing a step in their studies. Dual language schooling is a long-term commitment.

Benefits of Dual Language Immersion

Studying Spanish in an immersive environment, your child can improve working memory and intelligence, perform better in English and math, and achieve higher scores on college readiness exams, such as the SAT and ACT. They have access to more job opportunities and earn more over their lifetime.


Graduates are able to listen, speak, read, write and learn academic content in both languages


Gain a competitive edge in schools and outperform English only learners

Improved executive brain functions such as focus, planning and creativity
Improved brain power for cognitive and critical thinking and making better decisions

Effective communicators through the use of dual languages


Colleges and employers choose multilingual speakers over monolingual speakers when things are otherwise equal


Earn foreign language college credit early and opportunity to save money on tuition

Multilingual speakers have more job opportunities and earn more over their lifetime
Students feel an increased sense of global citizenship

Incredible ability to appreciate and communicate interculturally

Increased connection to family history and values

Development of bilingualism at a young age has lifelong social and career advantages


Experiencing the Catholic faith in two languages has lifelong advantages

Bilingual abilities have shown to delay the effects of Alzheimer’s
Your child can master both English and Spanish by 5th Grade!

Parental Support & Involvement

Parents can support their child’s language development whether or not they are bilingual/biliterate.

Concerns for parents in a dual language immersion program include:

How will I be able to help my child if I don’t know the language?

Teachers send a newsletter regarding overarching topics students will be viewing in class. This includes items that will help you engage your child in conversations and ask questions.

Enrolling in this program you can be confident that your child will learn independently of you. Encourage your child to go to class a couple of minutes before school to ask the teacher for help. If they are too young or shy accompany them to ask the teacher for help, eventually they will be asking without your help. This will guide them into becoming independent learners and empower them to take charge of their learning. Also, use other parents in your child’s class as a resource.

What language should you speak to your child at home?

Speak to your child in the language you feel most comfortable in and read, read, read in that language.

Research from the National Literacy Panel and the Center for Research, Education, Diversity and Excellence suggest that students learn their second language best when they have strong literacy skills in their native language. That means that by helping them with their English, you are indeed helping them with their Spanish!


Happy Parent Reviews…

Spanish Dual Language Immersion was a top priority for our family. I am impressed with the Spanish instruction, and the rate at which my child’s Spanish has improved over the past year, especially in reading and writing. I am grateful she will receive dual language instruction through her 8th grade year.

My daughter started her 5th grade year at Saint Sebastian, and this school has been such a blessing for our family!

I am a parent volunteer and I see firsthand the manner in which the staff facilitates a nurturing environment. The school offers very small class sizes, and parents are almost always on campus volunteering.

I really feel as though my voice is heard by the administration, and I also feel like my daughter is well-understood due to the intimate environment. Her emotional and social growth has really flourished at Saint Sebastian!

Teachers are top-notch, very caring, and very open to feedback and conversations regarding the growth of my child. – KENDRA G.

We were looking for Spanish immersion preschool programs for our son, and were intrigued by the possibility of having him stay in one place speaking Spanish all the way through middle school.

He started preschool last year as a 2 year-old, and we have been elated with his social and developmental growth!

Preschool teachers are fantastic at meeting each child where they are — in our case, that meant understanding the importance of our son’s comfort object, encouraging play with his peers (which was especially important after a lonely pandemic lockdown), and being on board with our potty training approach.

My wife and I are both attorneys with busy schedules, so the aftercare program until 6 pm has been a lifesaver. We’re excited to enroll our daughter in the preschool program too, next year.

Dual immersion language program has made my daughter fluent in Spanish and she is a non-native speaker.

Teachers and staff are extremely educated, most of them already have graduate degrees or are pursuing them. Admin staff know you and your kids by name.

Classroom size is around 10, that’s right, 10 per class Tk-8th. My kids tested 2 grade levels ahead in their state STARs test.

The lunch lady even kept track of my kids food allergies. You don’t get that TLC in public school.

Don’t be put off if you aren’t catholic, everyone is very kind and warm and although religion is taught they don’t push you to take all the sacraments if you choose not to. My kids love the school and so do I.- ELYZE B.

Learning two languages, our students develop communication skills, empathy, cultural understanding, and acceptance in order to collaborate effectively with others as they commit to making the world a better place for everyone.

Dual Language Immersion (DLI)



What happens in a DLI classroom?

Language is the vehicle for instruction in immersion classrooms. The partner language is not taught as a separate subject (with students memorizing prepared dialogues or presentations). Rather, for 50% of the day, the language of instruction is Spanish and the other half is English. Students speak, read, write, do math, experiments, singing, etc in the partner language. The teachers still follow the state standards and common core curriculum. Instruction in one language builds on concepts learned in the other language. We do not translate and repeat our lessons.

Sample Day for Students:
7:00 – 7:55 Open Campus
7:55 – 8:00 Announcements/Classes begin
8:00 – 9:25 First Block (Spanish Language Arts)
9:25 – 9:45 Recess
9:45 – 11:10 Second Block (Spanish Science, Math)
11:10 – 11:50 Lunch
11:50 – 1:15 Third Block (English Language Arts)
1:15 – 1:35 Recess
1:35 – 3:00 Fourth Block (English Social Studies, Religion)
3:00 – 3:10 Dismissal

Do DLI students meet academic standards?

Immersion students attain the same level of competence not only in language skill but in standard subjects as well. Furthermore, Immersion students develop the critical thinking needed to exceed standards much earlier than their peers.

Are we getting the seal of biliteracy?

Seal of biliteracy isn’t obtained until after graduating high school but the capstone project marks a critical milestone in the path to obtain it. Students who participate in the capstone project are rewarded with a celebration and ribbon at the end of their 8th grade year.

Does DLI work for a wide range of learners?

Immersion programs serve students of all backgrounds and levels of academic ability. Academic challenges do not preclude students from success in immersion and they achieve higher levels of proficiency in their second language.

Why DLI at a Catholic School?

By learning two languages in a Catholic school, our students develop communication skills, empathy, cultural understanding, and acceptance in order to collaborate effectively with others as they commit to making the world a better place for everyone. Our teachers create an intimate class environment which encourages high quality interactions between students and teachers, where their intellectual, faith, moral and character development matters.
Member of the Catholic Dual Languag Immersion Network badge

How does DLI differ from standard language learning programs?

The key aspect of Dual Immersion is that students do not just learn a language but learn to think in that language. While in the second language classroom, the students receive a higher level of exposure to the language. The learning takes place in a different cultural environment, so everyday learning takes place as if the student was in another country. Thus, the student’s language becomes not just functional but second nature.

Will learning Spanish interfere with my child’s English ability?

No. Research shows that students who acquire advanced levels of proficiency in two languages often experience cognitive and linguistic advantages when compared to monolingual students. Spanish Immersion students perform better on tasks that require divergent thinking, pattern recognition, and problem solving, and have enhanced levels of metalinguistic awareness.

How does DLI affect cultural appreciation?

Immersion students do not lose any appreciation for their first language culture. Immersion programs are associated with a higher level of understanding and tolerance with the second language.

How long until my child is fluent in Spanish?

Research states that it takes between 5 and 10 years to become fluent. The amount of time it takes for a student to be fully fluent will depend on the student’s learning patterns, parental involvement and dedication, learning environment and learning capacity. Every child learns differently whether they are learning in English or Spanish. Our teachers will work with every student to insure that they are learning at their unique optimum level.

Will my child speak exactly like native Spanish speakers?

Although the second language will be spoken extensively in school, it is necessary for Immersion student’s to interact with native speakers outside of the classroom if they want to achieve native-like competence including fixing grammatical errors, increased vocabulary and idioms.

Can my child enter your DLI program after Kindergarten?

Children may apply for our programs at any age. A readiness assessment is conducted after kindergarten to ascertain the bilingual abilities of each child. Research states it takes between 5 and 10 years for a language learner to become fluent.

Why operate DLI programs?

This particular school model operates on an additive perspective not a deficit. It recognizes that children come to us with language, and just because they may not know English yet, doesn’t mean they start out with a deficit. On the contrary, as mentioned by the National Literacy Panel and the Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence, these students need to fully develop their native language, have the opportunity to build strong literacy skills so that they can then more successfully acquire their second language. You may be asking well what about students who only speak English and are enrolled in these school models? Research shows that these students continue to show academic gains without a detriment to English.

What are the goals for the program and the school?

The goals of Dual Language Immersion are bilingualism, biliteracy and biculturalism. In other words, by the time students graduate from St. Sebastian they will be able to listen, speak, read, write and learn academic content in both languages. They will equally learn to embrace differences because this model celebrates exactly this, cultural and language.

As a school, our goal is to improve our students and our communities through bilingual learning and cultural understanding. Ultimately, our students will be able to speak Spanish and English with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations, including business and professional. We combine bilingual education, intimate private school setting, and holistic values-based education.


Is the DLI admissions process different?

Yes. Prospective students for our Dual Language Immersion Program must take a Dual Language Readiness Assessment Test administered by Saint Sebastian School. The test is taken after the application is received. In addition, students who are applying to enter Elementary or Middle school will be scheduled to visit the school and spend time in the classroom with current students. Students will be evaluated based on their likelihood of success in the program.

When is your admissions deadline?

The deadline for priority admissions is mid-February. Students who apply after that date may be admitted on a space availability basis.

Teacher teaching spanish in classroom
Spanish immersion classroom with catholic school kids
student holding sign written in spanish

Our graduating middle schoolers attend high school at…

St. monica catholic high school santa monica logo
St. Bernard high school logo playa del rey
Bishop Canty high school logo los angeles
Loyola high school los angeles log
Marymount high school los angeles logo
Notre Dame Academy High School logo Los Angeles

We also offer Spanish Immersion preschool for 2 and 3 year olds…

Need more information about Saint Sebastian School?

You may visit our school, call 310-473-3337 or email

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