- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

JEROME, Idaho (AP) - A south-central Idaho school district is considering phasing in a dual-language immersion program.

No decision has been made, The Times-News reported (https://bit.ly/1C6CC5P ), and officials said the earliest a new program could launch is 2016.

Jerome School District Superintendent Dale Layne said the program would likely start with one or two classes learning English and Spanish throughout their school years.

“We’ve had some parents in the community who have expressed interest in a dual immersion program,” he told the Times-News.

Jerome parents presented the idea after observing the program in other school districts around the state. In Rigby, students learn Chinese and Spanish in addition to English.

However, dual-language immersion programs are rare in Idaho. Six school districts and one public charter school offer them.

In the Blaine County School District, 25 percent of students are in an immersion program. Earlier this year, Gooding Elementary started a dual immersion kindergarten class with lessons in English and Spanish.

The Jerome School District plans on conducting surveys to gauge the interest level among parents.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 34 percent of Jerome County’s population is Hispanic or Latino.

Idaho schools don’t need state approval for a dual immersion program, but it would need to be allowed by the school board.

School officials are “taking a slow approach and doing some research,” Layne said. “It’s not really something you can just jump into.”

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Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com


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