On Tuesday January 10, 2017, MCPS staff members Lori-Christina Webb and Francoise Vandenplas updated parents from around the county on the Choice Study and upcoming changes to language immersion programs. The major takeaways from the meeting are as follows.
The Board of Education proposed a policy change that would eliminate a sibling link for families not already in a language immersion program and would add weighting to the lottery for socioeconomic factors. This change is open to public comment until February 3, 2017. Comments may be left at https://mcpsweb.wufoo.com/forms/policy-jee-student-transfers-feedback-form/. A vote will occur in March where the Board of Education will make a decision on whether to accept the proposed policy change.
Expansion of Language Programs
MCPS is weighing multiple options for expanding language exposure.
Option one (the preferred option) is to open four Spanish/English dual-language programs in KG and First Grade beginning next school year. The schools have not yet been selected. The goal would be to open two French/English dual language programs the following year.
Option two is to improve existing programs at the elementary school level. It would also include strengthening elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school matriculation.
Option three is for universal exposure. This would give every child in the county exposure for a short time each day or week to a language other than English.
Option four is a K-12 global world languages campus. This was described as a pie-in-the-sky option.
MCPS has approved two changes for the upcoming school year. First, the lottery will be held after kindergarten orientation. Second, MCPS will be partnering with Head Start and other county agencies to advertise language immersion programs to socioeconomically disadvantaged families.
Make Your Opinion Heard
If you would like to be involved in advocacy and outreach to MCPS, the Montgomery County Board of Education, or other stakeholders, you can join Friends of Immersion. This is a group of individuals and families interested in maintaining and strengthening the Montgomery County foreign language immersion programs. You can request membership at https://groups.google.com/d/forum/friends-of-immersion. Friends of Immersion is not affiliated with the Maryvale PTA.