District hosts meeting for interested families

Habla espanol? The Tigard-Tualatin School District is opening up spots in its dual-language kindergarten programs next year and is looking for students to fill them.

Interested families are invited to a special meeting at 6:30 p.m.on Tuesday at the district’s headquarters, 6960 S.W. Sandburg St.

The district for two years has operated a dual-language program at Metzger Elementary School and last year launched a similar program at Bridgeport Elementary School in Tualatin. Elsa Palza-Rink goes over basic math problems during her dual-language immersion class at Bridgeport Elementary School. The district is opening up several slots in dual language courses to people who lives outside the school's boundaries.

Teachers instruct students in a blend of English and Spanish, with the hope students will become proficient in both languages by the time they reach middle school.

When the programs started, school officials said enrollment would be reserved only for students who attend Metzger and Bridgeport. But district spokeswoman Susan Stark Haydon said several parents from other in-district elementary schools have asked about transferring their children into one of the programs.

“There is interest with other families in the district, so we created a few slots,” Stark Haydon said.

Tuesday’s meeting is designed specifically for interested families who live outside the Metzger or Bridgeport school boundaries, Stark Haydon said.

Bridgeport has more slots open than Metzger, which has had no trouble filling its classes with local participants, Stark Haydon said.

“Metzger is truly full,” she said. “But at Bridgeport, enrollment for next year was probably twice as high as last year, so there is a lot of interest in the program, which is a good thing.”

Rachel Stucky, the district's administrator of curriculum, said she was exploring the possibility of expanding the program to more schools across the district, such as Tualatin Elementary School. But that likely won't happen for the next few years, as district leaders focus on growing the Metzger and Bridgeport programs.

Families will be notified in early April if their child is accepted to one of the dual-language programs.

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