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California Mandarin immersion program keeps school open

June 28, 2019

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Redwood City, Calif, in the heart of Silicon Valley, has faced declining enrollment for several years, leading to a significant funding gap within the district. This is partly due to the area losing middle and working class families as Silicon Valley real estate prices have gone through the roof and priced them out of the area, while wealthy families increasingly choose private schools. 

A story about the district’s woes is here.

A bright spot is John Gill Elementary, which opened a Mandarin Immersion program in 2015 and which has been a draw for students in. That program continues to do well and was saved in the latest round of school closures, which are detailed below. I’ve spoken at the school several times and it’s got engaged, strong parents and a wonderful principal. A nice example of how immersion can keep families in local schools. 

From: Climate Online Redwood City

Redwood City Schools’ “Downsizing” Moves Ahead

Two Redwood City School District alternative programs will have new principals next fall as part of the district’s downsizing from 16 schools to 12.

Warren Sedar, principal at Selby Lane and a 20-year district teacher and administrator, will remain in his position as his school absorbs the Adelante Spanish Immersion Program, which moves from its campus on Granger Way west of Alameda de las Pulgas.

Katherine Rivera, principal at John Gill for five years, also will keep her job when the Orion parent participation program moves to John Gill to share the Jefferson Avenue campus with the district’s Mandarin Immersion program, established at John Gill in 2015. Orion will vacate its current home on Allerton Street near downtown.

In making his announcement by email to district parents, Supt. John Baker said current Adelante principal Christine Hiltbrand and Orion principal Julie Guaspari “have done an exceptional job at their current sites and we plan to have them continue with us as part of the district’s leadership team.”

Please read more here.

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