OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Blue Valley School District and parents involved in its Chinese Immersion program are coming together to create a task force that will help determine the future of the program.
On January 19, the district sent families a letter saying that the Chinese Immersion Program would be evaluated based on:
- Ability to provide Mandarin instruction in a sustainable way
- Ability to attract, retain and support high-quality Chinese Immersion program teachers, both Chinese and English-speaking teachers within the program
- Ability to sustain a pathway for current immersion students to achieve success on the AP Chinese Language test in high school
During a February Board meeting, the district released a Program Evaluation laying out some challenges surrounding the program.
Parents say the program has been great for their kids over the last five school years and the evaluation made them think the program might not continue or might be cut back. Instead of taking action now, the district is assembling a task force that will determine what happens next.
“The significant win from the February board meeting was the agreement to work with a parent advisory committee, really what they’re calling a task force, which is think is the right next step,” said parent Lauren Browne.
The Chinese Immersion program not only teaches Mandarin to students, but also teaches them other core subjects using that language, helping them become fluent in it.
The District has said it has struggled to find qualified teachers and long-term substitutes, sparking the evaluation and now, the task force.
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“I think there is a short-term plan in place and we’re still looking for a long-term answer and resolution that can get us, the families and our kids and the teachers as well, who have been involved with it for several years…reassurance that this will continue into the future,” said parent John Turek.
Blue Valley School District tells FOX4 they plan on releasing more information about the task force by the end of the month.