New updates to dual language program

Board of education meeting on Feb. 9 gives parents and students for information about different learning programs


P. Taylor

More information about different educational programs was given at the meeting.

By Peyton Taylor

On Thursday, Feb. 9, the second meeting of the year for the District 158 Board of Education occurred. The BOE meeting started  with introductions of the board starting off with superintendent Scott Rowe.

After introductions, the Pledge of Allegiance was given from students at Heineman Middle School’s Service Club led by assistant principal Alicia Parker. Parker gave an introduction of the students of the service club during the meeting.

After the pledge, there were multiple public comments made against the school district and the incidents that have taken place in multiple District 158 schools.

Gina Gallagher, a concerned parent, explained why speech pathologists should not be using teletherapy via zoom calls and that it negatively affects students.

“Having students go back to teletherapy does not work, and goes backwards on providing therapy after school for extra pay. I also wonder if the community understands the cost of teletherapy, it is about triple or higher,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher was also concerned with the light program of her child with having a separate entrance in a separate hallway. The Light Program is a program that provides transition services for students with special needs ages 18 to 22 after they complete high school.

“They say students with disabilities should be educated with students without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate, which was not happening at the middle schools,” Gallagher said.

The board defended their case with the light program, as the students exit out of school earlier than students from grades 9 to 12. The program will be returning to the high school sometime soon.

“We’re gonna be update on those options with the new designs of the building for the light program at its return to the high school, but I’ll be very clear I want the inside will look like in the future,” superintendent Scott Rowe said.

Before the meeting ended, Johanna Jordan, director of the dual language program at District 158, provided info about the bilingual program. There were many updates on what the program is going to look like in the future with a two-way immersion for many of the students.

“50% of the program will be taught in Spanish, and the other 50% of the class will be taught in English from [Kindergarten] through [5th grade.] Students would also be in their electives just like their peers,” Jordan said.

The Dual Language Committee of District 158 is planning to provide an opportunity to expand the dual language program into the middle schools. Dual language families were asked if they wanted to extend the program, and a majority agreed that it should be implemented in middle schools in District 158.

Dual language is planning on providing an academy for its students for more flexibility and materials that it would benefit to have a centralized program for the dual language program. It provided a timeline for the students until 2029 for all elementary and middle schools.

The meeting ended with the closing statements from the board, which covered any other issues throughout the district.