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Lake Oswego school board wowed by Mandarin immersion in Minnestoa

November 25, 2011

Language immersion: How far do we go?

Pair of school board members wowed by Minnetonka program

BY REBECCA RANDALL

The Lake Oswego Review, Nov 24, 2011 (2 Reader comments)

In a school 1,700 miles away in Minnetonka, Minn., two weeks ago, teachers taught a math lesson for fifth-graders in three different languages – English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

Lake Oswego School Board members Teri Oelrich and Bob Barman witnessed the lesson during their recent trip to Minnetonka and came back raving about how the experience will benefit school board members poised to make a decision on whether to offer language immersion in grades 1 through 5.

Oelrich and Barman traveled on their own dime along with Sarah Howell and Lara James, two Lake Oswego parents who are big proponents of implementing a similar language immersion model here.

Minnetonka has a lot of similarities to Lake Oswego, Ore., and so it made sense to the travelers to learn from that district. Minnetonka is a city of 49,000 with a median household income of $79,720. Its school district is similarly configured with six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. When the school district decided to implement language immersion, it considered a magnet model but, like Lake Oswego, its citizens value neighborhood schools. Instead, the district unrolled the new program at each of its schools in 2007.

Read more here.

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