WCSD to Launch Dual-Language Pilot Program

The Washoe County School District plans to launch a dual-language pilot program to help Spanish-speaking elementary school students.

Local administrators cited a recent University of North Carolina study that found Spanish-speaking children become better adjusted in school if teachers speak some Spanish to them.

Depending on the availability of funds, they say the English-Spanish program could launch at one school or several in the 2008-09 year.

Plans call for only kindergarten and first-grade students to be involved at first, but the program to expand upward as students move from one grade to another.

If a 50-50 model is adopted, students might learn one subject in English and another subject in Spanish and alternate throughout the day. The model has not been selected.

District officials say the program would allow students to become fully bilingual by the time they finish sixth grade.

They say behavior problems begin when a child feels neglected and does not understand what is being said.