Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Information and Application for Bilingual or Dual-Immersion Programming

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Learning Services
Regulatory Authority
Act 663 of 2021
Response Required
Assistant Principal; Assistant Superintendent; Curriculum Coordinators; Educator Effectiveness System Coordinator; Gifted & Talented Coordinators; Parent Involvement Coordinators/Facilitators; Principals; Superintendents; Teachers

Primary Contact Information

Secondary Contact/s Information

Memo Text

Act 663 of 2021 amended Arkansas law concerning the basic language of instruction in public schools, allowing a public school district or an open enrollment public charter school, upon approval by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, to offer a Bilingual or Dual-Immersion programming option.

English is still the basic language of instruction in the state of Arkansas; however, Act 663 expands language opportunities by allowing English and a partner language to be used in instruction in approved programs. These programs will still adhere to the Arkansas Academic Standards, and students will participate in statewide academic assessments in the English language. Each approved program will use English and a partner language to provide instruction to develop long-term bilingualism and biliteracy. 

Districts interested in offering Bilingual or Dual-Immersion (BDI) as a programming option for their school community are required to submit a BDI Application to The application can be found HERE.

Applications received by Wednesday, July 5, 2023, will be reviewed for program implementation during the 2023-2024 school year. Districts planning to initiate implementation during a later school year, please specify on the application.

For additional information or questions, please e-mail or

Sarah Burns
Program Advisor Fine Arts and World Languages
(501) 683-4905 |

Tricia Kerr
ESOL Program Director/Title III Co-Coordinator
(479) 267-7450, ext. 334 |

*Note program descriptions from Act 663:

  • Bilingual Program: “includes building upon a student’s primary language skills and develops and expands the English language skills of each student to enable him or her to achieve proficiency in both languages, while providing access to content areas.”
  • Dual-Immersion Program: “a program that develops dual language proficiency in two (2) languages by offering a student instruction in English and instruction in another language in a classroom that is usually comprised of half native English speakers and half native speakers of the other language.”
  • “Dual-Language” is the current term used in research and professional practice when referring to dual-immersion instruction. Therefore, districts wishing to implement BDI programming may find research and literature regarding best practices under the often-synonymously applied nomenclature of Dual-Language.

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