I just finished reading an articleon a wonderful site titled No Dual Language Immersion School for My Son’ http://spanglishbaby.com/2012/03/no-dual-language-immersion-school-for-my-son-yet/
This mother, a Colombian born like me, just heard that her son didn’t make the lottery for the Dual language-two way school in California. I felt so sad because I remember being at that moment 5 years ago when I received notice that my son, now in 3rd grade in a two-way dual language school in Boston, was waitlisted. I don’t understand why we are limited in our choices, why do we wait to teach our children a second language until they get to high school. How do we create equity for all students when we don’t equip them with the right tools and opportunities– like becoming bilingual/multilingual. Why do we send them the message that their language must be sacrificed at the expense of learning and living in an English only “world” until they get to high school and then we tell them that they need to be prepared for a “global” community. Make your voice heard! Let’s organize to promote more dual language schools.
Here are some strategies I tried and worked for now:
1. Ask about a wait list and get on it
2. Call the district office and follow up on the wait list and do the same at the school every week.
3. Don’t give up!
4. Call when school starts and let them know you are waiting for a spot and you would like to know how many students have not shown up the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd week–schools must open spots after that point
5. Try for a transfer during the school year
6. Try again for next year
7. Get involved with the parent group and perhaps they have other ideas
Good luck to all the professionals and parents who believe that all children deserve a school experience that prepares them to be global learners– dual language school (AKA Two way programs)
Professor Claudia Rinaldi is the Chair of the Education Program at Lasell University. Her areas of research are the implementation of the Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) framework in urban settings with English learners, teacher education in bilingual special education, and diversifying the teacher pipeline. Claudia has authored peer-reviewed publications and a book for educators called Practical Ways to Engage All Struggling Readers. She lead and developed a graduate certificate program in Teaching Bilingual Students with Disabilities for general, ESL and special education teachers geared towards applying research-informed practices to the questions and processes of identifying whether it is a language difference or a learning disability. Claudia developed a college mentoring program called Pathways to Teacher Diversity for districts and teacher education programs to partner in identifying and supporting underrepresented high school students interested in teaching careers to successfully access and persist in college. She serves in various boards including the National Center for Learning Disabilities and serves as an expert for Understood.org and the National Center for Intensive Interventions.
Professor Claudia Rinaldi believes that it is critical to prepare teacher leaders who may serve as advocates and allies and who will respond to the belief that all students can learn and succeed beyond barriers like culture, language, disability poverty, and marginalization in our country and globally.