Spanish Bilingual Program

Coming in 2022-23

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​​​Spanish Bilingual Program (K-12) at the CBE

The Spanish Bilingual Program provides students with the opportunity to acquire the basic skills for spe​aking, reading, writing, listening and communicating in both English and Spanish at a young age. It is a program in which Spanish and English are used as the languages of instruction, beginning in kindergarten or Grade 1 and continuing to Grade 12.


  • Students entering kindergarten or Grade 1 can register. Previous Spanish experience is not required and parents do not need to know the language.
  • Students with previous Spanish language experience may start the Spanish Bilingual program at other grade levels. In the case of alternate entry points, the student, parents and principal of the designated school will meet to determine a personalized plan for successful entry.

Benefits of Learning Spanish

  • Expands the intellect
  • Teaches responsible citizenship
  • Develops enhanced feelings of self-esteem and pride in having acquired an additional language
  • Strengthens English literacy skills
  • Encourages the joy of lifelong learning
  • Promotes exploration, understanding and appreciation of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world and contributes to multilingualism and multiculturalism
  • Allows students to compete internationally
  • Provides students with more choices for advanced education and career options
  • Broadens students' cultural life through access to literature, art, music and theatre in another language

Benefits of the Spanish Bilingual Program

  • In elementary, a 50/50 split in instructional time between English and Spanish allows students to build fluency in both languages. Children learn to understand and respond appropriately in Spanish in a range of everyday situations.
  • Students who wish to take the DELE, an internationally recognized Spanish language credentialing exam​, have the option to do so through the Instituto Cervantes.

Languages of Instruction

From kindergarten to grade 6:

  • Spanish Language Arts and Math are taught in Spanish
  • English Language Arts is taught in English
  • Other subjects are taught in English or Spanish or bilingually as determined by schools

From grade 7 to 9:

  • Spanish Language Arts and Math are taught in Spanish
  • English Language Arts is taught in English
  • Other subjects are taught in English or Spanish or bilingually as determined by schools

From grade 10 to 12:

  • Spanish Language Arts is taught in Spanish
  • Other subjects are taught in English or Spanish as determined by schools

Visit the CBE website to help determine whether or not the Spanish Bilingual Program (K-12) is right for your child and for information on language credentialing.​​​​​​

Frequently Asked Questions

How will you ensure a positive transition to CHHS for students in the Spanish Bilingual Program?

Grade 9 students have several opportunities to connect with the CHHS community throughout the 2021-2022 School Year. To date, we have planned a series of virtual (November 25) and in- person (January 28/29) open houses, organized athletics events at CHHS, and invited middle school teachers to use our campus for offsite cultural learning opportunities. These initiatives are designed to enhance students’ sense of belonging to the Crescent Heights community, paving the way for a smooth transition to high school.

When students come to Crescent Heights in Grade 10, they will belong to two communities – the Spanish Bilingual Program and the Regular Program. Each student will have a learning team that consists of their Spanish bilingual teachers, an assistant principal and a guidance counselor. Students are supported by this team throughout their high school experience to ensure academic success and social wellbeing.

Will students receive at least 25% of instruction in Spanish, throughout Grade 10, 11 & 12?

Yes. As per the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Calgary Board of Education and the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport (2014), the ratio for Spanish and English is as follows:

Specific Curricular Component

Grades 10-12

25% (minimum of 25 credits)

Spanish Language Arts
Other subject/s to be determined

Crescent Heights will offer the following Spanish Bilingual Classes:

  • SLA 10/20/30 (5 credits each - 15 total)
  • Social 10 will be in Spanish (5 credits)
  • Career and Life Management (CALM)/Social Literacy (6 credits)
  • International Certificate (5 credits consisting of Social Science options and 30-level CTC courses as an approved option for university admission)

Why will Social Studies be taught in Spanish instead of Math at the Grade 10 level?

Schools can determine what courses, other than Spanish Language Arts, are taught in high school. As the ratio of Spanish decreases from 35% in middle school to 25% in high school, it is important that students are enrolled in courses that maximize interactive, communicative Spanish through year-long courses. Social Studies 10 was selected based on the design of a successful program offered at Strathcona High School in Edmonton. The curricular outcomes for Social Studies 10 are focused on globalization, citizenship, and the exploration of current events from a variety of perspectives. These outcomes allow students to make authentic, real-world connections and explore culturally and socially relevant topics in a class that has a high level of oral language production. For a few specific outcomes, students will have the option to demonstrate curricular knowledge, skills and attitudes in English.

What real-world opportunities will students have to apply and develop their Spanish both locally and internationally?

International exchange programs are an excellent way for students to deepen their Spanish language skills and develop a greater appreciation of culture. Through the CBE’s partnership with the Alberta government, students can participate in virtual and in-person language and culture exchanges in Mexico and Spain. Students normally apply for in-person exchanges during their Grade 10 year to participate in the exchange during their Grade 11 year.

With the support of local partner organizations, students will be connected to speakers and off- site learning opportunities that broaden their perspective of Spanish language and culture in Calgary and other parts of Alberta. Career and Life Management was specifically selected to be taught in Spanish in Grade 11 to support community-based learning.

What is the DELE? How can students access it? Do all students have to take this exam?

DELE Spanish Diplomas are official titles certifying degree of competence and mastery of the Spanish language, granted by Spain's Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. The Instituto Cervantes organizes examination sessions. While the DELE is not an Alberta Education requirement, as a member of the International Spanish Academy (ISA), Grade 12 students who would like to receive an ISA Certificate, must take the exam. Staff will support Grade 12 students for test preparation in their final year of high school. For families wishing to take the exam at earlier grades, please contact the Instituto Cervantes directly.

What is the difference between Spanish Language & Culture (3Y) and Spanish Language Arts?

This Spanish Language and Culture Three-year (3Y) Program is intended for students who are beginning their study of Spanish language and culture in senior high school. Spanish Language Arts is intended for students who have been in the Spanish Bilingual Program since Kindergarten/Grade 1.

What other opportunities are there in the CBE for students to pursue Spanish outside of the Spanish Bilingual Program?

The Spanish Bilingual Program offers the most comprehensive K-12 language experience for students in the CBE. Other options are available for students with no previous Spanish language education.

The Spanish International Baccalaureate is offered as part of a program at five schools. Students must attend the school in their area based on their home address. Spanish is one course offered but students must take a minimum of two courses + TOK +CA. Detailed information can be found at: programs/Pages/International-Baccalaureate-Programme-(IB).aspx

The Spanish Advanced Placement can be taken as a single course. If the Area Advanced Placement School does not offer Spanish, they can apply to transfer to another AP high school that does offer it. More information can be found at: recognized-programs/Pages/Advanced-Placement-(AP).aspx

Can Spanish Bilingual students challenge Spanish Language & Culture 30 (3Y)?

To continue to develop and maintain Spanish language skills, it is highly recommended that students complete the Spanish Bilingual Program in high school. In circumstances where this is not possible, registered senior high school students who believe they have acquired the knowledge, skills and attitudes as defined by Alberta Education’s Program of Studies can challenge Spanish Language and Culture 30 (3Y) through a formal summative assessment process. Assessment procedures for course challenges must assess a student’s achievement of the depth and breadth of the course outcomes and include a variety of formats and strategies.

Guidelines are set by Alberta Education. All evaluation is done by a certified teacher with expertise in the subject and course. From: Calgary Board of Education Administrative Regulation 6021: Course Challenge

My child is currently struggling in Math. What options exist to support students in developing the foundational math skills they will need in high school?

Math 15 (3 credits) is a summer school course offered through Chinook Learning Services in- person (typically offered in the mornings for the first few weeks of July at multiple locations throughout the city) and online with CBe-learn. Math 15 focuses on improving student mastery of mathematical skills and concepts in preparation for Math 10C. The course focuses on strengthening student skills in vocabulary, numeracy, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The lessons and assessments are designed so that students can learn and demonstrate mathematical knowledge that is requisite for higher level math courses. Registration information will be sent out in the Spring.

CHHS Math Camp (non-credited course): Crescent Heights offers this summer school camp in late August from 8:30-11:30am. This opportunity is open to any student who wants to sharpen up their math skills to begin grade 10. Each day in the camp provides your student with opportunities to not only practice math skills, but to begin to familiarize themselves with teachers, the building, where their classes will be for first semester, and the expectations of high school. In the summers of 2020 and 2021, CHHS offered this as a self-directed D2L shell to all Grade 9 Students at the end of June. We will announce what format we are looking at for Summer 2022 and the registration process in the Spring.

Math 10T (11 credits): This CHHS year-long class will provide transitioning students into Grade 10 with the opportunity to recognize their current strengths and areas for growth in learning. Students will be provided with continuous feedback and assessment to determine their learning progress and possible next steps for mastery in curriculum outcomes. The learning will be guided by the Math 10C curriculum and will support additional credits in Calm (required for graduation) and Learning Strategies. Please note: Since the Spanish Bilingual Program offers SLA 20 with Calm in Grade 11, we will revisit who has been awarded Calm credits by the end of Grade 10 to plan their programming in Grade 11.

This transition course will also be available for Spanish Bilingual Students in Science 10T: a year- long transition course guided by the Science 10 curriculum, PE 10 (required for graduation) and Outdoor Education (10 credits).

Choosing this pathway(s) will remove one or more option course(s) from a student’s typical grade 10 programming; however final credits remain the same. More information will be provided at Grade 9 Class Presentations and on our CHHS Registration Forms.​