The popularity and problems of dual language programs - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The popularity and problems of dual language programs

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SELAH, WA - State Superintendent Chris Reykdal announces his vision for the future of education, including transforming K-12.

The John Campbell Primary School in Selah is already implementing one of his goals. One of the Superintend's goals is to have bilingual education starting in Kindergarten, and dozens of kids at John Campbell have been learning subjects in English and Spanish all year.

The program is a huge success. Kids spend their days going to different teachers to learn subjects in English or Spanish. Things like science and social studies are entirely in Spanish.

At John Campbell, there are about 17 or 18 students in each class. About half of the Kindergarten students involved can already speak both languages. 

The program is in its second year and also includes first graders. But the school's principal, Dr. Rob Darling, says its dual language education will eventually reach the fifth grade.

"In my classroom with the students that are not already speaking Spanish, they have picked up several Spanish vocabulary or different things, and they use it in the classroom when they can," said Lauren Geoveia, a dual language program teacher at John Campbell.

The Selah School District is not the only one in our region that's already teaching elementary students in dual languages. It's also happening in Moxee, Wenatchee, and the Tri-Cities.

One concern about dual language education is that there are just not enough bilingual teachers to go around. Principal Darling says the program at John Campbell is so popular that they had to turn away 100 students for the program this year.