Selma Unified launching dual immersion program

SELMA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Selma Unified students could soon be speaking a new language. The district is adding a dual immersion program to its curriculum.

Roughly 50 students will have the chance to take part in Selma Unified's very first dual immersion program.

Students will start in pre-school or first grade and will be biliterate in Spanish and English by 4th grade.

Selma Unified parent Joann Ruiz is one of many hoping to enroll her son in the district's new dual immersion program.

"My husband and I feel that being bilingual/biliterate is very important," said Ruiz. "It's something we value and something that we're interested in for our son."

She says trying to teach two languages to her preschooler is a challenge.

"He has a strong foundation in English, so we really want to work on Spanish," explained Ruiz. "He does get some Spanish at home but it's not enough."

It was parents who first put the idea of a dual immersion program on the table

"Parents have been the driving force in requesting this for their students," said Selma Unified Director of Student and Federal Programs Norma Barajas-Ruiz. "We want to ensure we still hold those high academic expectations but we want students to be scholars, learners in both languages full and full."

Now, plans are in the works with a dual immersion program launching in the Fall of 2022.

"We want students to leave this program fully biliterate with an understanding of different cultures," said Barajas-Ruiz.

Two classes will be housed at Eric White Elementary, but it's open to students district-wide.

"In the world today, being bilingual is such a powerful thing," said Eric White Elementary Principal. "There are so many more options for students that are bilingual."

Administrators are hoping to expand to other schools in the future. If you're interested in applying the program is still open. You can complete the interest form here.
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