The current pilot project is completing a successful first year with kindergarten students at Cedar Creek and Bridge Point elementary schools. For several weeks, Eanes ISD considered the feasibility of expanding the Futuro Spanish Immersion program to one or more of the four remaining elementary schools.
Numerous aspects and data points were reviewed, including current class size, future enrollment projections, the number of sections in each grade level at various schools, parent support, teacher input, staffing constraints, financial implications and the availability of qualified bilingual teaching candidates.
“Our community showed great interest in the expansion, but ultimately, we chose to move forward to expand to one school, one grade level at this time," Eanes ISD Superintendent Tom Leonard said in the release.
The District recently held informational meetings and conducted a survey to gauge how many families might be interested in Spanish Immersion. Parents at all elementary schools demonstrated interest, however, several factors decreased the expansion feasibility at Barton Creek, Forest Trail and Valley View elementary schools.
"Barton Creek’s slow growth would leave only one class of general education (i.e. English-only speaking) kindergarten, while the other two classes would comprise the Spanish Immersion cohort," the release said. "This is problematic because the language immersion model is based on a four-section grade level structure that allows flexibility in section/class configuration to meet the needs of all students in that grade level."
Valley View and Forest Trail were identified to have varied space and capacity constraints, and both campuses may also experience the modification or addition of the District’s Child Development Center next year.
In the end, Eanes Elementary emerged as the most viable option for the expansion, but only for Kindergarten, not first grade. Still to be decided is whether any spots in the expanded program may accommodate intra-district transfer students from other Eanes ISD schools, depending on demand.
Also to be considered is whether the process for all schools this year will be a first-come, first-served application or a lottery. Those aspects of the expanded program will be determined in the next three weeks before enrollment opens for Spanish Immersion March 20.