Bilingual Teacher Added For Spanish-Speaking Pupils

Apollo Elementary School has hired a second bilingual instructor to keep pace with its growing number of Spanish-speaking students.

The East Maine District 63 board voted in January to create a full-time bilingual position at Apollo after a state review showed the Des Plaines school had more than enough Spanish-speaking students to qualify for state bilingual funds.

But the high number of students in the bilingual program–about 30–made the addition of a bilingual assistant necessary.

The school’s Spanish-speaking students have been grouped under a more general district program, East Maine Multicultural Education, for all students with a weak command of English.

The new position is paid on an hourly basis, which means the school was able to hire the tutor, Katherine Martinez, without board approval. But because the district does not have an existing personnel classification for the assistant–which is necessary to receive state dollars–the board will vote Tuesday to create that classification, according to personnel director Michael Johann.

Apollo’s bilingual program comes as the district wraps up a review of the multicultural program, which some school officials have criticized as inadequate and inefficient.

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