Teton County Decides Against Dual-Language Magnet School

Jan 15, 2016

3rd graders in Colter Elementary’s Dual Language Immersion Program
Credit WPR/Aaron Schrank

The Teton County School Board voted Wednesday to keep its dual-language immersion program in multiple schools, instead of moving it to its own magnet school.

About 63 percent of staff members who responded to a district survey had said they wanted to move the program to its own school.

“The majority of the staff preferred the whole school magnet concept, but in the community, it was pretty well split,” says Teton County School District Superintendent Gillian Chapman. “I think the action that the board took represents the best of both worlds. It doesn’t mean that in the future, we won’t consider a whole school magnet program, it means not now.”

Chapman says the multiple school model will still allow the program to expand, and admit more students. Administrators say the program is currently able to accept about two-thirds of its applicants. Admission is determined by a lottery system.

“The board made the decision to basically expand the program through the neighborhood school concept,” says Chapman. “That was something that came through pretty loud and clear on our surveys—that our community values the neighborhood schools.”

Trustees also decided to build a second new elementary school, if enrollment projections pan out. That’s in addition to the new Hog Island school it’s already building. 

Trustees also voted to change the configuration of its schools. Jackson Elementary is currently kindergarten through second grade—and Colter Elementary is third through fifth. Both schools will now be kindergarten through fifth.