Dual FAQs

 

Q: If people pull their children from the program, it will lose funding and will no longer exist.
A: When MMES opens in the fall of 2018, it will be the largest elementary school in Teton County. There is no indication that there is broad interest to leave the program. In fact, enrollment in the program from the previous school year is up (see Enrollment section of DLI website) and there continues to be a long wait list for both English and Spanish speakers.

 

Q: Do all teacher and staff kids get into the dual program?
A: No, not all TCSD teachers and staff get into the dual language immersion program.  Up until this past year, 10% of spots in the program were reserved for the children of TCSD staff. Once that allocation has been met, those students are then entered into the general selection process. Depending on the number of staff with incoming kindergarten students and the outcome of the selection process, those acceptance rates have varied significantly from year to year. The table below indicates the acceptance rate of children of TCSD staff:

 
 

Staff applied

Staff accepted

2017

4*

2

2016

8

7

2015

4

4

2014

5

4

2013

9

5

2012

6

3

2011

2

2

2010

7

4

*number reflects only those who did not have an older sibling already in the program. Previous years’ data includes siblings.

 

Q: Is the selection process really a lottery, or is there favoritism or collusion.
A: The selection process is a very well thought-out and purposeful process that was designed in conjunction with national consultants to be as equitable as possible (See Enrollment section of website). All names are drawn at random by an impartial member of the community. The selection process itself is supervised by the Superintendent and filmed.

 

Q: Is district grandfathering in siblings into the program anymore.
A: Supporting students in a dual immersion program, especially when the target language is not spoken at home, is a challenge for most families who have students in the program and requires a significant investment of time and effort. Ensuring that younger siblings within the same household are able to enter the program is not only a standard of most dual immersion programs, it provides a natural support network for language development. In addition, a strong argument for having a whole school model for the dual program was to provide for neighborhood town schools where siblings could attend school together. Removing siblings from the incoming kindergarten classes would split siblings up across the district and therefore have a significantly negative impact on students, families, and the integrity of the program. There is currently no indication that the Board of Trustees wishes to make a change to our practice of automatically accepting siblings into the program.

 

Q: Are there students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) in the program?
A: The presence of an IEP does not factor into the selection process for the dual immersion program. As a district, 9% of our K-5 students have an individualized education. In the dual program, 6.7% of students have an individualized education plan.

 

Purpose of Program

Q: Will the whole school model segregate the community more than it already did when there were dual strands in two schools.
A: We believe strongly that the goal should be to create three schools that each have a strong identity and sense of community. With each school having a common educational model and it’s own unique purpose, the students and families will develop even stronger connections within their school community.

 

Impact on Students

Q: Are dual students are performing above/below others. Dual kids are behind in math and reading.
A: Looking at data across all grade levels, there is no significant discrepancy between the academic success of students in dual vs. students in traditional classrooms on typical academic assessments (MAP, PAWS).

 

Q: If kids are struggling in dual, does the the expected “lag” make it “too late” to help kids catch up”?.
A: In any population of students, there will be some who struggle and some who excel, and in some cases diagnosing the cause of a struggling student is very challenging. In general, the “lag” that is expected with most dual programs has not been evident in Teton County and there is no significant difference between the performance of dual students and traditional students on statewide assessments. Our MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) program in TCSD is applied to all students, regardless of how they are taught, and building teams work hard to ensure that no student goes without the extra support that they need to be successful in school.

 

Funding and Resources

Q: is it true that more funding is allocated for students in the dual program compared to funding for han students in the traditional program?
A: Not typically. After the initial costs necessary to purchase materials in the target language, especially for library and research materials, there is generally no additional cost to the district. Every TCSD student has a classroom teacher regardless of which program they are enrolled in, traditional or dual language immersion.  Each of those teachers receive professional development; in this case it would just be focused on their specific needs. Costs to the district are typically the same as with or without a dual immersion program.

 

Q: Do students in dual program get free tutoring that is not available to students in traditional classrooms?
A: Free after-school and summer programming are available to all Teton County students, regardless of program.

 

Q: Are there the same number of specialized academic services for students in the dual langauge immersiopn program?
A: All TCSD students, regardless of program, are eligible for the same tiered interventions. One exception is ESL (English as a Second Language) services. In traditional classrooms, these are provided by interventionists using a pull-out or push-in model. In dual immersion classrooms, ESL services are provided by the classroom teacher unless the student is a newcomer. In that case, they will also receive supplemental ESL services.

 

Q: Does Dyslexia programming exist in dual?
A:  Within TCSD1 we do not have any distinct "dyslexia programming" for IEP or non-IEP students. However, if a student demonstrates symptoms and characteristics associated with dyslexia, and their reading skills are below age and grade level expectations, then we provide reading interventions that are evidence-based and target precise reading difficulties. Typically, if a student's reading skills are below age/grade level expectations and the student is demonstrating characteristics of dyslexia, they would begin a Tier 2 reading intervention. If the student does not make adequate progress as defined by a problem-solving team, a Tier 3 intervention may be necessary. These tiers of support are available for IEP students, non-IEP students, dual immersion students and non-dual immersion students.

 

Q: Is it difficult to hire and retain Spanish speaking teachers, especially content areas at the secondary level.
A: Dual immersion programs across the country experience a similar challenge when it comes to hiring highly qualified teachers who are native or native-like speakers of the target language. While recruitment of teachers outside the region has been difficult, we have been very fortunate to have a strong pool of candidates available to us in Teton County for our program. Now that the program has stabilized in the elementary grades, our recruitment focus will be on increasing content specialists at the middle and high school. We are also providing student teaching opportunities for Spanish speaking teachers in our elementary schools to increase our pool of candidates from within.

 

Elementary Program

Q: Will there be specials taught in Spanish?
A: We will be recruiting for Spanish speaking specialists this spring as we prepare for the 2018 school year. It is our hope to hire teachers who are able to teach in both Spanish and English in certain areas.

Q: Does science lose priority in a language-based program?
A: No. Dual immersion teachers are responsible to the same state science standards as students in traditional classrooms. In fact, utilizing thematic instruction is a powerful way to enhance language development for both native Spanish and English speakers, and has been a focus of ours as we integrate science and social studies into our Language Arts units of study.

 

Secondary Program

Q: What is the program model past elementary?
A: Please click here to access the DLI Program section of the website.

 

Q: How do you start integrating content in high school with dual programming?
A: The course sequence for grades 9-12 is currently under review and will be finalized this school year. Dual immersion students in 9th grade are currently enrolled in an advanced Spanish language course as well as United States History taught in Spanish.

 

Additional FAQ for MMES page.

Q: How long will the bus ride be from East Jackson to MMES?
A: Until we know exact enrollment and determine our bus routes in the spring, we are only able to estimate transportation times. The current bus that brings dual immersion students from East Jackson to Colter Elementary picks students up at Redmond and Hansen at 7:25 and arrives at CES at 7:55. Traveling south to MMES from Smiths would add roughly 10 minutes to that commute.

 

Q: Will the PEAK program be offered at Munger Mountain Elementary School (MMES)?
A: The PEAK program (gifted and talented) is a part of our MTSS (Multi-Tiered System of Supports) framework and is available to all qualifying students in Teton County, regardless of school.

 

Questions from Parent Advisory

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