FARMINGTON — Seats were hard to find during the Farmington Board of Education meeting Thursday evening when a potential new bilingual program was presented that could honor students for language skills.
Parents and children filled the Central Office board room as Farmington Municipal Schools officials gave a presentation on the possibility of introducing a Bilingual Seal program during the board work session.
The presentation was given during a work session and no action was taken by the board.
“Our department believes we are getting more and more students proficient in home languages like Spanish and Navajo,” said Director of Bilingual Education Gayle Barfoot.
The proposed program will honor students who have finished a bilingual program and met certain criteria, recognition with on their diploma and transcript.
Spanish Language Facilitator Modesto Rascon gave a presentation to the board members and the audience on the benefits to students who participate in the program. Rascon switched between English and Spanish during this talk to ensure those in attendance could follow along.
The Bilingual Seal could increase the graduation rates of English language learners, aid students with acceptance into colleges and universities and more.
“It could facilitate scholarships for bilingual students,” Rascon said. “Students recognized as bilingual will have helping finding a job.”
Rascon said the program is available to any student.
Specific guidelines and criteria were proposed, involving applying for the seal during 12th grade after a specific number of years of bilingual courses, including taking Spanish as a foreign language.
During the workshop session, a number of people voiced their concern about Navajo language requirement being the same as the Spanish.
One woman told Rascon that she was concerned about those students learning Navajo possibly being less proficient because some of them begin learning the language in high school.
The idea was taken into consideration by Rascon. He said the proposed program is still taking shape.
It will need to be approved by the Farmington school board first before a committee can be formed to create assessments for succeeding in the program.
Rascon said he was optimistic about getting the program before end of the school year.