MCPS to recommend scaling back Spanish instruction at Paxson Elementary

Missoula County Public Schools administration is recommending to significantly scale back the Spanish dual-language immersion (DLI) program at Paxson Elementary School next school year.

Many parents challenged the decision, and an online petition was signed by over 200 people. The district also held a community meeting at the Paxson gym on June 1 about the program. 

The district recommends moving away from the current immersion model — where various subjects like science and social studies are taught in Spanish — and offering Spanish as a separate subject focusing on vocabulary and conversation in a 45-minute class each day.

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The recommendation came after staff at Paxson requested that the MCPS administration review the DLI program. The district opened a committee process only to Paxson staff to discuss the benefits and challenges of the program between February and May, according to the district. The committee represented 75% of the classroom teaching staff and 96% voted in favor of scaling back Spanish instruction.

During the committee process, Paxson teachers identified issues surrounding staffing, curriculum and overall relationships among staff members, according to a document from a March meeting.

A majority of the parents expressed that learning in

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