Although the school year has begun in Darien, the town's new World Language Program for elementary schools hasn't.
School district administrators say the program should begin for at least some grades in early September, but it won't be fully implemented until early October.
The problem has been the difficulty in hiring teachers who are certified both to teach elementary school students and to teach Spanish, schools Superintendent Stephen Falcone said.
It turns out that there's a lot of demand for teachers with those certifications, and Darien Public Schools wasn't able to hire many of them until late in the summer.
"But we got some good people on board," Falcone said in an interview Tuesday. The four hired so far are a mixture of veterans and teachers just entering the field. The school district is close to hiring a fifth and final teacher, he said.
The hired teachers are still working on a curriculum plan, he said.
By Monday, Sept. 10, the start of the third week of the school year, some "language experiences" like singing in Spanish in music class will start, Falcone said.
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By early October, the entire program should be in place for all grades in all the schools, he said, with a curriculum laid out and all teachers working with students.
At Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, Chairperson Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross suggested to school officials that parents be notified that the program hasn't yet started.
She said many parents might be confused by the word "Library" on their children's weekly class schedules, when that class was supposed to be replaced by a foreign language class.
Judith Pandolfo, assistant superintendent for elementary education, said she'd make sure principals notified parents about the delay in the program.