MCPS Gets Ready To Kick Off Spanish Immersion Program - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

MCPS Gets Ready To Kick Off Spanish Immersion Program

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MISSOULA -

As students across Missoula get ready to head back to school Wednesday, some students will be greeted by teachers with 'hola' instead of 'hello'. One of the biggest changes to the Missoula County Public School District this year is the launch of the state's first public school Spanish immersion program at Paxson Elementary.

6-year-old Mac Kavanaugh has a big day ahead of him Wednesday. Not only is he going back to school, but he's one of 40 students at Paxson Elementary School who are in the first-ever public school Spanish immersion program in the state.

"I like math and science," Mac said.

Mac will be learning plenty of math and science, but he'll also get the opportunity to take some of his courses in Spanish.

"Oh gosh, there wasn't even a choice. I'm just so excited about it," said Mac's mother, Larking Kavanaugh. "It's such a great opportunity, and the fact that it's in a public school, and here in Montana, it just feels very cutting edge."

A class of 20 kindergartners, and another class of 20 first graders are taking part in the program.

"When I traveled and realized the world all speaks two languages and I don't, I'm on the short end of that, and he's not going to be. He's going to know two languages from the start," Kavanaugh said.

Instruction will be divided between two classrooms. An English-speaking instructor teaches language arts and literacy skills, while another teaches Spanish literacy and mathematics.

"We'll be doing a lot of team planning and coordinating our programs enhance each other," first grade Spanish teacher, Ted Muhs said.

Muhs is putting the final touches on his classroom. He said his goal is to help students grow, not only academically, but also socially.

"It goes without saying, they're going to become more employable as adults. They're going to gain more cultural awareness through learning a second language," Muhs said.

The program takes students through the fifth grade.

"It's such an amazing opportunity not everybody gets," Kavanaugh said.

Students in the program applied over the summer, and were then selected by a drawing.

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