WENATCHEE — Lewis & Clark Elementary School will host a visit Tuesday from state Superintendent Chris Reykdal, who is interested in learning about the school's dual-language immersion program that has been in place since 2008.
Reykal’s six-year vision for restructuring K-12 education in the state calls for all students to learn a second language. The school’s 400 students from kindergarten through fifth grade receive instruction in Spanish for half the day and in English the other half of the day.
During his visit, from 8 a.m. to noon, Reykdal will tour the school, observe kindergarten, first-grade and fourth-grade dual-language classrooms, attend a third-grade assembly and round out his time in the building with lunch in the cafeteria.
The dual-language program started with a few classrooms in 2004 and expanded school-wide in 2008. The Wenatchee School District received a two-year $30,000 grant in 2015 to mentor Selah and Mabton school districts on their dual-language program. In 2017, the district received another $15,800 grant to further enhance the program.
In addition to the elementary school, Foothills Middle School offers a dual-language class. Once those students reach high school, they can take upper-level Spanish classes as freshmen.
Lewis & Clark Principal Alfonso López serves on the Washington State Dual Language Steering Committee which helps inform policy and explore ideas to improve bilingual education. Through the committee, López connected with Reykdal and invited him to Wenatchee to experience first-hand Lewis & Clark’s dual-language program.
López is the Association of Washington School Principals’ 2018-19 Washington State Principal of the Year, lauded for his work during the past decade promoting cultural diversity and improving life and learning outcomes for Wenatchee students. This month, López was inducted into the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ 2019 Class of National Distinguished Principals in Washington, D.C.