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October 25, 2018

Dual Language Program Named Bright Spot

Kennewick School District implemented its Dual Language Program in the 2005-06 school year with its first group of kindergarten students and began to grow the program each year with a new set of students.

“We’ve been running dual language ever since then,” says Chuck Lybeck, associate superintendent of curriculum. “We implemented a grade level a year. We’ve been doing it a long time and we think we do a pretty good job.”

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) thinks the Kennewick School District does a good job with its dual language program, too. OSPI recently named the district’s program a “bright spot” for other districts and programs to look at.

“They consider us a resource as the state looks to develop more and more of these programs,” Lybeck says.

The bright spot designation does not come with an award or trophy, but OSPI gives out the district’s contact information to other districts so they can ask questions and seek guidance as they are looking to implement their own dual language programs.

“People will call us and people will come visit us, too. We’re considered a district that others can come and look at,” Lybeck says.

The district’s dual language program originally was based out of Edison and Hawthorne elementary schools and now has grown to be able to support its own school. Fuerza Elementary School opened in August 2018 to all current dual language students who had attended either Edison or Hawthorne and to new students in kindergarten. The dual language program is also offered at Highlands Middle School for students in sixth to eighth grades.

“There’s not many districts that have an entire dual language school. We’re a model district for that,” says Lybeck. “Most districts have strands like what we had at Edison and Hawthorne. The full dual language schools are more common in New Mexico and the Southwest.”