Philadelphia expresses commitment to bilingual education - Resources for your Spanish Classroom
Source: Mercury News.com
SOUTH PASADENA - School Board President Joe Loo hopes he can bring a dual language immersion program to the South Pasadena Unified District.
Loo broached the subject at Tuesday's school board meeting, hoping to introduce the idea for consideration and gauge the opinions of the other board members. He said he thinks the program would help students be more successful in all areas of study.
"It helps them because they need to develop the concepts of language, the relationship between writing and speaking," Loo said. "They've found there are a lot of other benefits. ... It really helps them think. ... And the earlier the better for learning a foreign language."
Though no action was taken Tuesday, Superintendent Joel Shapiro said the discussion was productive, and provided insight into board leanings on the issue.
"It was one of those things where the value was in the comments different board members made," Shapiro said. "It was a general introductory discussion and I think it was important."
But, Shapiro said, there are still concerns about the costs and feasibility of implementing a program, which at the earliest might be considered in a couple of years.
He said board members are also looking at alternatives besides dual immersion to enhance foreign language learning in the district.
"The overall response from board members is this is something that has not been adequately researched for us to make any decisions for next year at all," Shapiro said. "We're not in any situation yet where we can move forward with a plan that would cost additional money."
Loo said thinks implementing a dual immersion program would be financially feasible.
If it chooses to implement the immersion program, SPUSD would not be the first district to do so in the San Gabriel Valley. Pasadena has offered elementary dual immersion at San Rafael and Field Elementary Schools since 2009 and will add a third site next year.
PUSD Spokesman Adam Wolfson said the program has not only helped students improve academically, but has also drawn new families into the district.
"In our case it absolutely increased enrollment and brought students into the district from outside of our PUSD boundaries," Wolfson said. "Our sense is that if something works, why not? And I think for us it really fits in the theme of 21st century learning."
Loo said he hopes the SPUSD board can begin to move forward during its strategic planning sessions this summer. After members create a timeline, he said, they will hold community forums to engage district parents.
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