“Coming from the town of Plainfield, Iowa, with fewer than 500 people, Walker has said he saw Delavan as the “big city” when his family moved there in 1977….
The area’s Latino population has grow[n] exponentially since around that time. Only 7% in 1980, it climbed to 11% in 1990, then 21% in 2000 and nearly 30% in 2010.
Many of Delavan’s Latino families have members who initially moved here to work at farms in the area, and others have been drawn by the pull of family ties as increasing numbers of people stay throughout the year rather than traveling back to Mexico.In the Delavan-Darien district, classes, menus and services at the school district are offered in both Spanish and English.
A recent end-of-the-year performance featured children singing the song “Five Little Monkeys” in English and Spanish (“Cinco Monitos”). Young children starting in kindergarten and first grade — English-speakers and Spanish-speakers, white and Latino students alike — alternate languages.
Last school year the district launched a new two-way language immersion experiment, the Dual Language Education Program, where English- and Spanish-speaking students start 4-year-old kindergarten receiving 90% of instruction in Spanish and 10% in English. Each year, the proportion adjusts, so the split is 50/50 by third grade.”