Stocktrail Elementary voted CCSD’s only DLI school

Deputy Superintendent Kirby Eisenhauer addresses the school board on April 12, presenting information regarding the proposed changes to the CCSD DLI program (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

Rawhide DLI students coming to Stocktrail where non-DLI students are to be moved to Prairie Wind Elementary

GILLETTE, Wyo. — The Campbell County School Board on Tuesday approved a proposal making Stocktrail Elementary the only Dual-Language Immersion (DLI) facility in the school district.

The decision was made in a 6-1 vote, with Trustee Linda Bricker casting the only no vote during the board’s regular meeting April 26.

With the approved proposal, all students enrolled in the DLI program at Rawhide Elementary will be moved to Stocktrail Elementary and all non-DLI students in grades K-4 at Stocktrail will be moved to Prairie Wind Elementary for the 2022-23 school year and on.

As of April 27, 33 non-DLI students, excluding grades 5 and 6 that will remain at Stocktrail until they move onto to junior high, will attend Prairie Wind Elementary next school year, according to Kirby Eisenhauer, deputy superintendent for the Campbell County School District (CCSD).

“This isn’t a perfect program by any means, and it does impact our families directly,” Eisenhauer said, adding the potential impacts were voiced by the public during a listening session on April 20.

During that session, the board listened for two hours as about 20 residents presented reasons for and against the DLI proposal, Eisenhauer said.

He took a minute to respond to a couple of issues raised, and in response to one inquiry confirmed that parents do have the option of applying to have their children attend a school of their choosing.

Fewer public comments were raised during the April 26 meeting, though some residents took time to state their position both for and against the proposal.

Residents fill seats at the Educational Services Building during the School Board’s meeting on April 26. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

Resident Victor Wright said he was for the proposal after hearing from a local Realtor that housing prices were not likely to severely spike in the neighborhood surrounding Stocktrail Elementary if the school became a DLI-exclusive facility.

Wright also liked the fact that parents had an option to have their kids attend different schools aside from Prairie Wind and said he saw the overall proposal as a no-brainer based on the number of kids who would benefit, 200, versus those who could be adversely affected, 33.

Resident Haylie Campbell was not in favor of the proposal and reminded the board that they have an obligation to make sure no child is left behind.

The DLI program and the 200 students who would benefit from the proposal are not an excuse to push the 33 traditional students at Stocktrail aside, Campbell said.

Resident Sabrina Bredthauer said she was in favor of the proposal and that full immersion has proven to be beneficial to students in all sorts of programs. She said she didn’t see the move as pushing any students aside, but as a way to place DLI and traditional students among their peers, which could benefit both groups of students.

Resident George Dunlap voiced an idea for the board to consider giving preferential treatment to families with young children that live in the Stocktrail neighborhood and who want to have their children enrolled in the DLI program.

Several board members including trustees Larry Steiger, Dr. Ken Clouston, Bricker, Vice Chairwoman Lisa Durgin and Chairwoman Anne Ochs expressed interest in exploring Dunlap’s proposal further in the coming year.

Prior to the vote, trustee Dr. Joseph Lawrence said his children were once displaced from Stocktrail after the school was torn down years ago.

They survived, he said, adding children are resilient and suggested that perhaps it is adults who seem to have a problem adjusting to change.

Lawrence acknowledged the proposal could result in some students losing connections with their friends, but also said they would have every opportunity to form new ones.

Residents gather outside following the school board’s decision to approve a proposal to move all DLI students to Rawhide Elementary. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)