MEDFORD, Ore. -- On Monday, Jackson Elementary School will launch a new dual language program. It's the very first dual language program in the Medford School District.
Twenty two students will be enrolled in the kindergarten class. The curriculum will be exactly the same as any other kindergarten class. The only difference is that students will learn in Spanish for 90 percent of the time and English for 10 percent of the time. This ratio will become more even as students grow older.
Yasmin Bennett is one of the dual language teachers. Her first language was Spanish. She said students will be able to use these language skills outside the classroom.
"Spanish has helped me so much," Bennett said. "It's given me so many advantages and opportunities in life. In getting a job, in being able to communicate with other people. I want my students and all students to be able to have the same opportunities I've had."
Teachers said it is best if students start learning another language when they are between the ages of zero and ten. This is because young students can soak up new information.
Half of the students in this dual language classroom will be native Spanish speakers. The other half will be non-native Spanish speakers. The Jackson Elementary principal, Marisa Poling, said that luckily, the community around Jackson Elementary already had many native-Spanish speaking students.
Parents are looking forward to the program, according to Poling.
"They're excited about having their student in a program where all cultures are accepted," Poling said. "They're excited about having their students challenged in a way that we've never seen before for kiddos."
To get into the dual language program at this school, parents have to fill out an application. That application is online and will be entered into a random lottery.
The principal said they haven't decided when next year's dual language students will be chosen, but parents can start applying now.
Find more information about that application here.