Sarasota’s first dual language school opens new building to teach in English and Spanish

Get ready to immerse yourself in a unique learning experience at Dreamers Academy in Sarasota, Florida. This groundbreaking dual language school has just opened a new building, offering students the opportunity to learn in both English and Spanish. With a 50/50 language allocation model, students benefit from two teachers who alternate teaching in each language. The results speak for themselves, as students excel academically and develop a strong command of both languages. Dreamers Academy is not only bridging the language gap but also creating a more inclusive and diverse learning environment. Come and discover the success of this innovative approach in education.

Sarasotas first dual language school opens new building to teach in English and Spanish


In this article, we will explore the success and growth of Dreamers Academy, Sarasota’s first dual language school that teaches in both English and Spanish. We will delve into the background of the school, the unique language model they follow, and the benefits it provides to students. Additionally, we will highlight some success stories from families who have experienced the positive impact of this educational approach. Furthermore, we will discuss the language barrier challenges faced by English language learners and how Dreamers Academy addresses them. We will also examine the academic achievements of the school, which have surpassed district and state averages. As Dreamers Academy continues to expand, we will discuss their plans of implementation in other districts and the value it brings to children. Lastly, we will touch upon the future plans of Dreamers Academy and the importance of visitation and learning from their successful model.


Dreamers Academy first launched in 2021, housed in a temporary building with grades kindergarten through second. However, the charter school has now completed its new building and is ready to start the school year with nearly 500 students, expanding up to fourth grade. This growth in student population is a testament to the success and popularity of the school’s dual language program. Dreamers Academy, located in the historic African American neighborhood of Newtown in Sarasota, was established to cater to the needs of Spanish-speaking families in the community.

Sarasotas first dual language school opens new building to teach in English and Spanish

Language Model

Dreamers Academy follows a unique 50/50 language allocation model. This means that students split their time evenly between English and Spanish instruction. The school employs teachers who specialize in English and Spanish, allowing students to learn both languages effectively. The model includes a flip day, where students switch between the two languages, ensuring a balanced and comprehensive education. This language allocation approach has proven to be beneficial for the students, fostering language proficiency and cognitive development.

Success Stories

Dreamers Academy has witnessed numerous success stories that highlight the effectiveness of their dual language program. One such story involves a family from Guatemala who immigrated to the United States in search of better education opportunities. Heidi Hernandez, a mother at Dreamers Academy, shared that her son, who attended kindergarten at the school, has been rapidly acquiring English language skills. Another parent, Zac Cox, expressed the desire for his children to have a Spanish education, as it provides them with a valuable advantage in life. He emphasized how their vocabulary has expanded immensely, benefiting their long-term growth.

Sarasotas first dual language school opens new building to teach in English and Spanish

Language Barrier

The director of Dreamers Academy, Geri Chaffee, recognized the need to address the language barriers faced by English language learners. Chaffee’s motivation behind establishing the school stemmed from an experience she had while volunteering in a local Title I school in Sarasota. She realized that capable students were being held back by the language barrier, hindering their academic success. Harriet Moore, the Sarasota School District Director, also expressed her concern for English language learners in the community, particularly the rapid growth of the Spanish-speaking population. These observations highlight the urgency to provide effective language education and support to ensure equal opportunities for all students.

Academic Achievements

Dreamers Academy has achieved remarkable milestones in terms of academic performance. The school’s students have shown significant improvements in reading and math, surpassing both district and state averages. Third-grade students at Dreamers Academy witnessed a remarkable increase in reading proficiency from 30% to 58% and math proficiency from 3% to 85%. These achievements demonstrate the effectiveness of the dual language model in enhancing students’ learning outcomes. However, promoting this model has presented its own set of challenges, particularly in convincing district leaders and curriculum authorities of its efficacy.

Sarasotas first dual language school opens new building to teach in English and Spanish

Expansion to Other Districts

The success and positive outcomes achieved by Dreamers Academy have paved the way for implementation in other school districts. The dual language model has been introduced in Manatee and Pinellas county schools, extending its benefits to a wider student population. Geri Chaffee, the founder of Dreamers Academy, advocates for the adoption of this model in more districts within the state and across the country. The value and necessity of providing children with a bilingual education are paramount, and Chaffee encourages education leaders to visit Dreamers Academy and learn from their proven model.

Future Plans

Dreamers Academy has ambitious plans for the future. The school is considering expanding to accommodate additional grade levels, with the goal of providing education up to the fifth grade. As the school continues to grow and achieve success, it aims to maintain its focus on academic excellence and the implementation of its dual language model. Dreamers Academy recognizes the importance of attracting visitors to observe and learn from their approach, as it can inspire and guide educational institutions looking to replicate their achievements.

Sarasotas first dual language school opens new building to teach in English and Spanish


Dreamers Academy has emerged as a trailblazer in the field of bilingual education, successfully integrating English and Spanish instruction to empower students in both languages. The school’s unique language model, supported by passionate educators, has resulted in significant academic achievements for its students. As the Spanish-speaking population continues to grow, Dreamers Academy’s approach addresses the language barriers faced by English language learners and offers a promising solution. The success stories of families who have benefited from this dual language program serve as a testament to the value and necessity of such educational models. Dreamers Academy’s commitment to expansion and its willingness to share its learnings with other districts exemplify its dedication to transforming the educational landscape and providing every child with a comprehensive education that prepares them for success in an increasingly globalized world.