Casper Dual Immersion

Joel Dvorak’s DLI recommendations to the Trustees

Well…..Joel Dvorak has submitted his two top recommendations to the Board of Trustees for DLI. They are copied below. Discuss…..

Recommendation #1:

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend the implementation of a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program the District beginning at Paradise Valley Elementary School fin 2014-2015. I further recommend that the first targeted language be Spanish.

RATIONALE: In the Fall of 2012, staff began working with the Wyoming Dual Language Immersion Parent Task Force to present interests to the C&I Board Committee and Trustees in January and February, 2013. In March, 2013, principals, teachers, and parents of interested schools visited dual language sites in Utah seeking answers to questions about student performance, costs, implementation, and sustainability. Updates were provided at regular committee meetings and to Trustees in March.

To date, parents of 99 Kindergartners and 62 first graders have expressed interest in DLI programming.

Paradise Valley is an optimum site to start DLI programming. According to their application of interest, 100% of staff are supportive of the program and are interested in either Chinese or Spanish. In addition, the school is a “right sized” 4:3 school, so they can accommodate the design of the dual language immersion model and provide options for parents not interested in DLI.

Offering Spanish as the targeted language is in line with survey data from parents indicating that 39% prefer Spanish and another 41% of respondents would enroll in either Chinese or Spanish. Research and findings from the Utah visit indicated that no single language is “more useful” or “less useful”: what matters is having more than one language in the brain and giving the students the multi-language experience.

Starting the program in 2014-2015 gives staff more time to fully deploy this recommendation with three areas requiring attention: hiring quality dual language elementary teachers, establishing regular enrollment processes, and aligning curriculum.

Recommendation #2:

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend that parents of Kindergartners committed to Dual Language Immersion (DLI) be allowed to enroll now at Paradise Valley, with an understanding that DLI instruction will begin in both Kindergarten and First Grades in 2014-2015.

RATIONALE: To date, parents of 99 Kindergartners have expressed interest in DLI programming and have signed a “first come – first served” enrollment list. Without this enrollment option, those children would not be able to participate in the program. Momentum from the Wyoming Dual Language Immersion Program – Parental Task Force would be severely stifled. Committing to enrollment helps to sustain that momentum and sends a signal that the District is committed to DLI over the long term.

Paradise Valley has seats available for 68-72 Kindergartners. Thirty-nine of these children are siblings, or neighborhood, or employee children. Some of these children will be able to enroll in the dual language immersion program. There will be room for two classrooms of DLI students, while accommodating siblings, employee, and neighborhood children.

Enrolling DLI-interested students now allows school staff and parents to prepare the children and the school community for the dual language experience. Parents have committed to several culture-building practices that can move forward at this time.

Starting the program in 2014-2015 gives staff more time to fully deploy this recommendation with three areas requiring attention: hiring quality dual language elementary teachers, establishing regular enrollment processes, and aligning curriculum.

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3 thoughts on “Joel Dvorak’s DLI recommendations to the Trustees

  1. Amber on said:

    While I was taking the survey I became concerned about how they were going to use my answers and if my answers were going to somehow exclude my child from the program depending on my answers. I actually called the district office and spoke to a few people (each having a differing viewpoint on my question). I would love my child to have this opportunity. I would enroll him in Spanish if that was my only choice, but my first choice is Chinese. After talking to the first person I was left with the impression that if I chose Chinese my child would not be eligible for Spanish. But then after I spoke to a second person I was told that if I chose either one then my vote would not show that I strongly supported Chinese. I’m disappointed that the superintendent is basing his recommendations on a survey that in my opinion was poorly written.

    • theatruewells on said:

      Hi Amber: Here is my understanding. The district used the survey to better vet out information. The Steering Committee is still fighting for Mandarin as that is what the majority of our committee would choose as well. However, we have members who would only choose Spanish as well. So, first, we are still pushing for both languages and we are still pushing to begin next fall. While Dvorak’s recommendation would get the program going, I think it is not the best option. Please come to the Trustee meeting tomorrow night (MOnday) and voice your desire for Mandarin. We will have talking points available and I will post them here and on Facebook later today (we are still editing them). The Trustees may change the recommendation but will most likely ONLY do that if they see a lot of faces.

      As for the enrollment process, MY UNDERSTANDING, is that starting Tuesday morning, a representative from the enrollment office will begin calling the applicants in order. Person #1 will get a call and they will be told the one, two or three options depending on how the board voted. That parent can then choose which seat they would like to take. Once they fill up the first program (if there are two), then the remainder of the calls will only be for the second language. IF there are three program (which I am doubtful, but remain hopeful!!!), the enrollment office will continue to call applicants until all seats have been filled. Placement letters for kinders will go out later next week.

      Does that help?

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