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Formation of the Blue Valley Schools task force for the Chinese Immersion program

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Blue Valley School District and parents involved in its Chinese Immersion program are teaming up to create a task force that will help determine the future of the program.

On January 19, the district sent the families a letter stating that the Chinese immersion program would be evaluated based on:

  • Ability to deliver Mandarin lessons sustainably
  • Ability to attract, retain and support high-quality Chinese Immersion program teachers, both Chinese and English-speaking within the program
  • Ability to sustain a path for current immersion students to achieve success on the AP Chinese language test in high school

During a February board meeting, the district released a program evaluation that outlined some of the program’s challenges.

Parents say the program has been great for their children for the past five school years, and the evaluation has led them to think the program may not continue or may be scaled back. Instead of acting now, the district is assembling a task force that will determine what happens next.

“The significant victory of the February board meeting was the agreement to work with a parent advisory board, actually what they call a task force, which is the right next step,” parent Lauren Browne said.

The Chinese Immersion program not only teaches students Mandarin, but also teaches them other key subjects using that language, helping them to become fluent in it.

The District said it has struggled to find qualified teachers and long-term substitutes, triggering the evaluation and now the task force.

“I think a short-term plan is in place and we are still looking for a long-term answer and resolution that can lead us, the families, our kids and also the teachers, who have been involved with it for several years.. reassurance that this will continue into the future,” parent John Turek said.

The Blue Valley School District tells FOX4 they plan to release more information about the task force later this month.

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