School board approves plan to move the Dual Language program to Edison Elementary
WALLA WALLA – The Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors voted 4-1 to approve a recommendation from the Bilingual Education Recommendation Committee (BERC) to improve the district’s Bilingual Education program to better meet the needs of students. Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Christy Krutulis presented the recommendation to the school board Tuesday evening following a year and a half of committee work, a dozen parent meetings in English and Spanish, hundreds of survey responses from staff, parents and community members, and multiple classroom visits. School board members Cindy Meyer and Ruth Ladderud served on the committee.
“After a very extensive process and deep commitment from committee members, the School Board was presented with a recommendation that puts Walla Walla Public Schools on track to provide the best possible bilingual programming for its students,” said Krutulis. “This also includes the addition of Spanish language classes at both middle schools.”
The final approved recommendation to the School Board included the following:
· The One School Model was selected to be part of the recommendation.
· The One School Model includes the opportunity to focus on success at one wall-to-wall dual program while maintaining current programming at Blue Ridge Elementary.
· One of the caveats of the committee’s recommendation is that future expansion be considered at Blue Ridge for a two school model if student enrollment and learning outcomes warrant such enhancement.
· Edison was selected as the site for wall-to-wall dual programming. Edison has a higher Latino population, additional physical space and technology for supporting the success of acquiring a second language, and should Blue Ridge be added will provide a two way dual program on each end of our district.
Roll Out Recommendation
· The slow roll out model was unanimously selected by the committee. The slow roll out allows students the opportunity to finish their elementary career in their current elementary school.
· The slow roll out will mean that all four kindergarten classes at Edison will be allocated for dual programming starting with the 2017-18 school year. Sharpstein and Green Park will have English only kindergarten classes with continued English language support for students not in dual programming.
Dual Language Program Enrollment Procedures
· In the next week specific information regarding enrollment procedures and timelines will be published to ensure families desiring dual programming for their kindergartener for the 2017-18 school year have information about placement notification before the district open enrollment period begins.
The primary reasons for reviewing the program and why changes are needed:
1. Increase academic performance for non-English speaking students (presently being out performed by Hispanics across the state)
2. Improve problematic “traditional” classrooms in dual language schools.
3. Increasing number of Hispanic students entering kindergarten with limited Spanish skills.
4. Some students in English-side of dual struggling academically.
5. Lack of program alignment.