The Blue Valley School District’s newest elementary school will also be home to the district’s new Chinese language immersion program beginning in the 2017-2018 school year.
The district’s board of education on Monday approved plans to launch the language program, which will be open to up to 60 students beginning in full-day kindergarten.
The new elementary school, at 178th Street and Grant in Overland Park, is under construction and is scheduled to open at the start of the next school year.
The district’s board is expected to approve the official name of the new school early next year. For now, it is called Elementary 23.
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With an immersion program, teaching and learning of core content occurs in a language other than English. In addition to learning a second language, immersion programs are generally thought to enhance cognitive skills, increase cultural competence, improve performance on standardized tests and better prepare students later on for the global economy.
“The data is out there and it shows how kids truly become bilingual through immersion,” Todd White, Blue Valley’s superintendent said in a statement.
Blue Valley said in the news release the Chinese-language program will be co-taught by two full-time teachers. Half the day will be spent in Chinese, and half in English.
The program will be open to up to 30 students in the Blue Valley Southwest High School feeder system, with the other 30 slots being available to students district-wide.
The district said the language program requires “a multi-year commitment,” and noted that participants will be selected by a lottery system.
The Blue Valley also voted Monday to add Chinese as a world language elective course at Aubry Bend Middle School and Blue Valley Southwest beginning in the 2017-2018 school year.
The district said in the release that these changes to its world language program are the “first of many” planned in classrooms throughout the district over the next few years.