Albany County School District No. 1 will host a town hall Feb. 21 to garner public input on how best to expand the district’s dual-language immersion program.
Laramie students can currently spend half their day in a Spanish-speaking classroom until they reach second grade.
Administrators are hoping to expand the dual-language program to accommodate students through fifth grade.
The district first piloted the program with kindergartners in the 2016-2017 school year at Indian Paintbrush and Spring Creek elementary schools.
Students enrolled in the dual-language program are instructed in Spanish for half the day and in English for the other half.
However, growing the program presents significant logistical challenges.
Neither Indian Paintbrush or Spring Creek have enough space to accommodate the expansion through fifth-grade.
If the program keeps growing, the district will likely need to bring another elementary school on-board — likely either Slade or Linford.
Under the current, “two-track” model, an English-speaking teacher and a Spanish-speaking teacher share two sections of students.
At a Wednesday work session, assistant superintendent Debbie Fisher provided school board members with three options of how the program could be expanded.
Each, however, has drawbacks.
“There’s a lot of moving parts,” superintendent Jubal Yennie said.
One would require the district to hire 12 additional teachers. Another would increase certain class sizes while reducing the number of students able to participate. Another would require some students to stop the programs or move to other school sites.
A full explanation of all options is available here.
Since the program’s first year, the school board has approved the addition of first grade in 2017, then second grade this in 2018.
ACSD No. 1’s town hall will be hosted 7 p.m. at Indian Paintbrush.