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Petitioning Arlington School Committee & Administration: Establish Language Immersion in Elementary Schools starting September 2013

Hello Parents, thank you for reading on. Three things are needed for our elementary school children to win broader-reaching foreign language instruction beginning in September 2013: 1) sign petition, 2) massive attendance needed at School Committee Meetings on 12/6 at 6:30pm and 12/17 at 5:30pm, 3) contact your APS principal. The APS School Committee meets at the High School 6th floor meeting room. Committee members must see all interested parents. Like:

Petitioning Arlington School Committee & Administration: Establish Foreign Language Immersion Strands in Elementary Schools starting in September 2013; Phase 1 of a Comprehensive Foreign Language Program

Implementing comprehensive foreign language programs (immersion, FLES & after-school) in Arlington will keep our public schools competitive while providing essential skills and enhancing cultural sensitivity, while also benefiting English Language Learners in our school system. An immersion program means that students will learn the majority of their subjects in Spanish, and will learn the same subjects as other kindergartners. Language acquisition is easiest if begun prior to age 7.

Letter outbound (APS School Committee Members & please send to your Elementary School Principal):

I am writing to let you know that I want intensive foreign language instruction in our elementary schools. A large group of parents support comprehensive foreign language programs in Arlington's schools. It is imperative to begin a pilot immersion program in 1 or 2 kindergarten classrooms, Phase 1, starting in September 2013 so students benefit immediately while the program develops multiple offerings. Over 95% of hundreds of parents surveyed affirmed that they want to see this important program established in our community. Other public school systems have implemented successful immersion programs; some are Cambridge (Spanish and Mandarin), Framingham (Spanish), Maynard (Spanish), and Millis (Spanish), to name just a few.

Immersion programs are very low-cost and high-benefit. The question of teacher salary is usually net-neutral, because retiring teachers are replaced by new teachers who are dual certified. Each year, a new grade would be added to the program, up to grade 5 or 8. Initially there will also be the expense of obtaining pedagogical materials for each grade level, but the materials can then be re-used in subsequent years. The program would begin in one to two schools, and given the high level of demand that we have gauged, a lottery system would be used to fill available spots.

Bilingual children have greater executive functions, perform better on standardized tests, and do better in math. As our country’s demographic includes more and more Spanish-speaking immigrants daily, the ability to communicate with millions of people not only in Latin America but in our own country will be a critical skill.

Please help us move this issue forward and begin this important initiative in September 2013.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools
    Dr. Kathleen Bodie
  • Assistant Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools
    Dr. Laura Chesson
  • APS School Committee Chair
    Kirsi C. Allison-Ampe
  • APS School Committee Vice Chair
    Judson L. Pierce
  • APS School Committee Member
    Paul Schlichtman
  • APS School Commitee Secretary
    Leba Heigham
  • APS School Committee Member
    William Hayner
  • APS School Committee Member
    Cindy Starks
  • APS School Committee Member
    Jeff Thielman

Amy Gear started this petition with a single signature, and now has 137 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.