Catholic Diocese of Arlington to Welcome Its First Dual Language Educational Program to St. Ambrose Catholic School, Annandale

ARLINGTON, VA. - The Catholic Diocese of Arlington will offer its first-ever dual language education initiative at a diocesan school when St. Ambrose Catholic School launches a program for kindergartners this coming school year. In the coming years, by the time those children complete eighth grade, every student in the Annandale parish's K-8 grade school will receive instruction in both English and Spanish.

The Office of Catholic Schools joined St. Ambrose Pastor Father Andrew Fisher and Principal Maria Tejada in unveiling St. Ambrose's Dual Language Program (DLP) in collaboration with Boston College's Two-Way Immersion Network. St. Ambrose's program will provide literacy and content instruction in English and Spanish to all kindergarten students beginning this fall. The DLP will expand annually to the next grade up until every grade offers English and Spanish instruction.

Dual language or language immersion programs are a popular option for parents and students who attend public school. Several local public school systems offer dual language programs to students who are selected by lottery.

"We are so pleased for the support of Father Fisher and Bishop (Michael F.) Burbidge in this endeavor, and we are honored that St. Ambrose School will be the first school in the diocese to implement this dual language program,” said Mrs. Tejada. “We are also excited about our plan to one day provide a dual language experience to every student enrolled in our school."

"We are grateful for the leadership Mrs. Tejada has brought to our school through this initiative. We are a global Church and Northern Virginia is a global community,” said Father Fisher. “By expanding the educational offerings for our students to include Spanish as well as English instruction, we think St. Ambrose students will be prepared to better interact with more of our community."

St. Ambrose will teach math and science in Spanish and social studies and religion in English. Language arts will be taught in both English and Spanish. All special courses (technology, library, physical education, art, and music) will also be taught in English.

"Our schools provide students an excellent education that is rooted in the faith. This new two-way immersion program further enriches that experience for St. Ambrose students,” said Dr. Joseph Vorbach III, superintendent of schools. “Their spiritual and academic formation will occur in an environment in which they also develop bilingual, biliterate and cultural awareness skills to help them communicate more effectively in an increasingly globalized world."

St. Ambrose is a diocesan parish school serving students in preschool through eighth grade. The school is accredited through the Virginia Catholic Education Association, with approval from the State Board of Education, Commonwealth of Virginia. St. Ambrose School offers its students a strong foundation in the Catholic faith, a challenging academic curriculum, and a nurturing environment. The school has been named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.

St. Ambrose is located just a short distance west of the Capital Beltway in Annandale, near Inova Fairfax Hospital and the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College. For more information about St. Ambrose Catholic School, please visit the website at For more information on Catholic schools in the Diocese of Arlington, visit

Interested media should contact Diana Sims Snider, Deputy Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 703-841-2587 or


The Catholic Diocese of Arlington was established on August 13, 1974, and is home to 70 parishes and more than 460,000 Catholics. There are currently 276 priests serving in the Diocese and 49 seminarians discerning a priestly vocation. The Diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools, one virtual school, four diocesan high schools, five independent Catholic schools and three free-standing (not connected with a parish school) pre-schools, serving more than 16,800 students.

Geographically, the Diocese includes the seven cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester and the 21 counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland.