NewsMissoula County


Concerns over future of DLI program at Missoula school continue

Posted at 9:29 AM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 11:29:59-04

MISSOULA - Paxson Elementary School has one of the only dual language immersion programs in the region, but that could be changing if the district decides to cut back on Spanish instruction.

It’s a story we first started following last week when parents and students voiced frustrations to the school board over the potential change. The discussion continued Wednesday as people came to the Paxson gym prepared with talking points, questions, and clarification packets.

One parent MTN News spoke with said the root of the issue is a matter of process.

“When this program began in 2013, there was a lot of public gathering at Board of Trustee meetings to gather the input of the community,” Joe Eaton said. “So, we feel that as they're beginning to try to unwind the program that they should also, once again, go to the community and ask for people's feelings.”

One by one Wednesday night, parents finally did get the chance to share their feelings about changes to the Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program. But according to Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Watson, the Paxson staff has already solidified their recommendation to the Board of Trustees – a decision based on teachers’ concerns with the instruction model.

The recommendation is to modify the delivery of the Dual Language Immersion program — teaching Spanish as its own subject rather than offering core subjects in Spanish. The changes and recommendations will be presented to the MCPS school board on June 14, and public comment is welcome.