The Jefferson County 509J School Board has unanimously voted to launch a dual-language program for students beginning next fall.
The district will work to implement a 50-50 model starting with its youngest learners next school year.
A 50-50 model means half of the instruction will be taught in Spanish, and half will be taught in English.
This effort will be spearheaded by the district’s Dual Language Planning Principal, Laura Contreras-Weiss.
She started with the school district in August.
“When I saw the five hands go up, I jumped out of my chair,” Contreras-Weiss said. “I was thrilled to see that kind of support in the district, being new to Jefferson County.”
The board’s approval comes after the exploration committee met three times starting in October, according to the district.
The committee met to review research, questions and form a recommendation for the school board.
“I think this district is blessed to have that team and I have a lot of confidence moving forward this program will be successful and definitely needed,” Board Member Jamie Hurd said during the meeting. “It’s time 509J explores this.”
Communications Coordinator Joseph Prechtl said the district will now start working on forming the design committee.
Parents, community members, and 509J staff will be on this committee.
They will meet over the coming months to work on ideas about location, staffing, enrollment, transportation and more.
Currently, the district is planning to implement this program in the 22-23 school year.
The design committee will meet in January.
They will look at research and listen to community members who can help by providing guidance and feedback on the possible program.
“I am looking forward to these next steps,” Contreras-Weiss said. “I am excited to say this is one more thing we will hopefully be able to offer to our students and families.”
Contreras-Weiss came to the Jefferson County School District following a 16-year career with the Springfield School District.
During her time there, she worked as a teacher, a teacher on special assignment, and an administrator.
She has worked in education for 24 years. She’s always been involved with ELD and the bilingual world.