Beginning next school year, Bridgeport teachers and administrators hope to introduce a new long-term bilingual program for students in elementary school.
In the program, an English-speaking student will be paired with an English as a second language (ESL) student. The program will begin in kindergarten or first grade and run through fifth grade.
“There will have to be a commitment by the parents,” said superintendent Eddie Bland. “The students will have to stay with it through the fifth grade. We will have to require training for the parents.”
The program will also require a commitment by the district.
“If we commit to a bilingual program like this we have to make sure we have enough bilingual teachers. We already have several who are willing and able to do it.”
There will limited spots available for the program if the district decides to use it. A lottery system will most likely be used to determine who can take part.
The early start to learning a second language will help young students better master a second language.
“It’s much easier to acquire a second language at a younger age,” Bland said. “Our staff here is really excited to do it.”