Middle School Update
By Katie Olson
Thanks to everyone who attended the Mandarin immersion middle school committee meeting #4 on Sept. 23.
Present: Katie Olson, Kellyn Dong, Ken (a new parent from the Chinese Immersion School at DeAvila), Eos de Feminis (SI parent from Marshall leading the SI MS group), Amy Risch (also SI parent from Marshall very involved in the MS group), Judy Hutchinson, Stacey Leyton.
Spanish Immersion in Middle Schools
Much of the meeting was devoted to hearing what the Spanish immersion parents could share. They are working on several fronts with the District to ensure that there will be enough spots for Spanish immersion middle school students to continue in immersion. They have drafted a letter to Superintendent Garcia and have met with Jeannie Pon (Associate Superintendent in charge of Middle Schools) and with Jen Fong (Secondary Supervisor with English Learner Support). They have been told that there is a plan to open more Spanish immersion spots, that three middle schools are under consideration (though they have not been told which schools), and that this decision is being made independent of consideration of Mandarin immersion middle school needs. They have been told that the location will be revealed before the open house for all schools on Nov. 7. They are concerned about being left out of the process, but they are happy that more slots will be added.
World Languages Middle School
The Spanish immersion parents are proposing that the district create a World Languages Middle School with Mandarin immersion, Spanish immersion and Cantonese; they would like to see the percent of instruction in Spanish increase; they would like some better high school options; but all of these later concerns are less important to them than just ensuring that there will be a slot for their kids somewhere in a Spanish immersion middle school that they consider reasonable. They are beginning the process of surveying the 4/5th grade parents about middle school priorities. They did feel like there would be a benefit to helping the District see that the Spanish immersion and Mandarin immersion parents have many similar needs and that by planning for a middle school that could house both programs without displacing current students, the District would be meeting the needs of more families and making more progress toward their Multilingual goals. We talked about both Everett and Horace Mann as possible sites. Both probably have the capacity to add Mandarin immersion plus Spanish immersion programs.
Chinese Immersion School at De Avila
The representative from the Chinese Immersion School at DeAvila said that they are investigating whether their building has the capacity for K-8, but much is up in the air.
We looked at the SI and MI draft surveys. We liked the concise layout of the Spanish immersion survey, but had some info on the Mandarin immersion survey that we wanted to add. Stacey Leyton agreed to try to merge the two surveys, and to discuss them with Cate and Josh at Starr King, who do surveying professionally.
Meeting with District Representatives
We will meet with Margaret Peterson at Stacey’s house Oct. 13, 6pm. We thought we would ask her about progress to date, let her know about our collaboration with the Spanish immersion parents and continued interest in a Spanish immersion and Mandarin immersion middle school. We also thought we would share our draft survey with her to find out whether the District would want to hear the results of our questions, and whether there is other data that she would want us to gather.