Oregon Trail Elementary School launches dual immersion program

Students as young as Kindergarten and First Grade have started bilingual learning.
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 7:02 PM MDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Inside the gym of Oregon Trail Elementary School students, faculty, parents and community members gathered to launch the dual immersion program for kindergartners and first graders at the school.

The dual immersion program will give students an opportunity to learn both English and Spanish, something teachers hope creates a solid knowledge base for students.

“It’s going to give them skillsets to use both languages in learning the basics in elementary and building upon that in middle and high school and later in life,” said Oregon Trail first grade English teacher Rachel Kirchmeyer.

The school day is split in half with the first group of roughly 20 students learning in English until the midway point of the day while the other group learns in Spanish.

Then the groups switch and learn in the opposite language for the rest of the day.

This dual immersion learning has been a new venture for both teachers and students and the drive for learning from their pupils has impressed those teaching in the program thus far.

“It’s been a learning opportunity to navigate schedule and time within both languages wanting to be even, but this group of kids is working so hard to please both in English and Spanish and I think they’re very capable of meeting the challenge already,” Kirchmeyer said.

The desire to learn in this way and challenge themselves says a lot about the work ethic of both these young students and the passion of the teachers at Oregon Trail.

Studies also show that students who take numerous years of dual immersion perform better than their monolingual peers in almost all areas of school

“Bilingualism and biliteracy opens an infinite amount of doors. I don’t know what all the benefits will be, but there will be opportunities that these kids have in their futures that any kid that’s not in this program simply won’t have,” Oregon Trail principal Tyler Matlock said.

Matlock also said he was encouraged by what he has seen in the dual immersion classrooms so far and hopes that this program makes serious strides from now until the end of the year.