Success of and Equal Opportunity to Dual Immersion OUSD Schools

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Multilingualism helps to advance racial, social and economic justice for students and families in our communities by providing an increasingly valuable skill in today’s workforce and economy. The vision for the Multilingual Pathway is to provide a welcoming environment for Spanish-speaking newcomers, African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and many other diverse Oakland students and families. Dual immersion and multilingual programs can be key to dismantling structural racism in our public education system, but only if we are intentional around how we engage with students, families and educators. In order to realize our vision, we need to support cultural humility along with multilingualism, a love and respect for one’s own culture and language as well as a deep value and desire to learn about others.

The Multilingual Pathway in OUSD is a key strategy for increasing revenue in OUSD through increasing enrollment. Expanding and publicizing great educational opportunities in dual language schools at the elementary and middle school levels can increase retention and recruitment of families from diverse racial/ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Many Spanish-speaking Newcomer students and families share that OUSD dual language schools have felt warm and welcoming as they arrive in a new country and city. However, over the years, including this current year, African American, Asian Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern families have shared that they have been told by OUSD student assignment employees that Spanish-English dual language programs are not for them, not been told about these schools as an option, or been told that these schools were full when they were not. This has negatively impacted our students, families, and school communities in many ways.

In order to ensure the success of these highly valuable and powerful programs that are being offered as attractive OUSD options, we feel the necessity and urgency to ensure that District level partners support growing an inclusive OUSD Multilingual Pathway in the following ways:

 A.    Communications

*Create a representative brochure for the Multilingual Pathway that includes all the current schools in the pathway with information about their programs and contact information.
*Create an updated short recruitment video about the Multilingual Pathway. The video would highlight different schools, and expanded middle school opportunities.
 

B.           Student Assignment/Enrollment

*Ensure ALL Student Assignment staff visit dual language schools to develop a deeper understanding of the programs. Visits would include classroom observations, and conversations with students, families, and educators.
*Meet with Student Assignment Office to specifically discuss the approach to enrollment for all dual immersion schools for the 2018-19 school year (taking into consideration overall District needs and with an equity lens around all of the middle schools)
*Reserve a set minimum number of spots for low-income students of color each year in these schools.

With these changes in the student assignment office operations and training, we feel OUSD would be moving towards supporting an equitable and accessible high quality education for all families who can benefit from the multilingual education being offered through the dual immersion OUSD schools.

In unity,

Che Abram, Oakland SOL Parent, happyche@gmail.com   

Luz Alcaraz, Esperanza Parent, mar25luz@hotmail.com

Lateefa Ali, Melrose Leadership Academy & Greenleaf Caregiver, lala.ali86@gmail.com

Zaineb Alomari, Community Elementary School, Oakland SOL & Skyline Parent

Silvio Carrillo, Melrose Leadership Academy Parent

Olga Contreras, Manzanita SEED & MetWest Parent

Alejandra Mendez, Global Family, amendez654@gmail.com

Judith Mendez, International Community School Parent, mendez_2676@hotmail.com

Pam Nelson-Hollis, Manzanita SEED Parent, pamnelsonhollis@gmail.com

Katy Nunez-Adler, Oakland Community Organizations Organizer, katy@oaklandcommunity.org

Alex Park, Manzanita SEED & Oakland SOL Parent

Lamont Snaer, Oakland SOL Parent, dlajene05@gmail.com

Araceli Terrazas, Greenleaf Parent & Coliseum College Preparatory Academy Parent, araterraxel@gmail.com

And many more...

We, the undersigned, in order to ensure ALL kids have access to bilingual and multilingual education, are asking the OUSD to take the following actions to expand awareness of these programs and counteract the lack of access that historically has occurred, especially for African American, Asian Pacific Islander, and Middle Eastern families:

1. Provide information regarding the dual immersion schools showing students of diverse backgrounds (African American, API, Latino, Middle Eastern, etc.) in the form of a brochure and large posters to be posted in the Student Assignment Offices.
2. Ensure ALL Student Assignment staff visit dual language schools to develop a deeper understanding of the programs including classroom observations, conversations with students, families, and educators.
3. Arrange a meeting between dual immersion school families and staff and Student Assignment Office to specifically discuss the approach to enrollment for all of the dual language schools for the 2018-19 school year (taking into consideration overall District needs and with an equity lens around all of the middle schools).



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