To: District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee
From: Dave Porter
Suggested Expansion of Dual Language Immersion Programs in N/NE Portland
Next year, and in the near future beyond, as more Spanish dual language immersion teachers become available, Spanish dual language immersion programs need to expand to serve both native Spanish speaking and native English speaking students.
So, the question is what are the least disruptive and best operational locations for additional strands of Spanish immersion in N/NE Portland in the near future (next five years)? And how might those longer term plans impact what the DBRAC recommends now?
I suggest that Spanish immersion be expanded at Cesar Chavez (making it an all Spanish immersion K-5), at Beach (making it an all Spanish immersion K-5) and at Woodlawn (making it a co-located, 2 strand English, 2 strand Spanish K-5). These are the most useful and least disruptive locations.
(1) Map of “2015-16 Spanish-Speaking kindergarteners” with red arrows to suggested locations of additional Spanish immersion capacity.
(2) Steady expansion of Spanish dual language immersion ahead.
There needs to be further strands of Spanish immersion opened in N/NE Portland in the near future. In 2015-16, in all of PPS, there were 121 native Spanish speaking kindergarteners not in dual language immersion programs. At 12 Spanish native kindergarteners per two-way (50% native Spanish, 50% other students), that is enough for 10 additional strands of Spanish immersion across PPS.
(3) N/NE Spanish speaking students not in dual language immersion programs
18 of those Spanish speaking kindergarteners not in DLI were in the Ockley Green Middle School cluster. An additional 27 were in neighboring N/NE schools. That total of 45 Spanish speaking kindergarteners is enough for 3 (almost 4) additional strands of Spanish immersion.
(4) Students currently turned away from Spanish immersion in N/NE Portland.
In 2015-16, there were 84 kindergarten applicants for Spanish immersion kindergarten turned away at Beach (69) and Cesar Chavez (15). 84 is enough to fill half of the above 4 two-way Spanish immersion kindergartens (4x12=48), plus enough for one stand of a one way Spanish immersion program (24), plus an additional 12 kindergarteners. Note that 24 of the turned away kindergarteners were from the Beach neighborhood. That is enough to fill one strand of additional one-way (all English native) Spanish immersion.
(5) Give priority kindergarten admission to neighborhood applicants
At immersion programs with separate lottery slots for “neighborhood” and “transfers,” combine the slots and give priority to all neighborhood applicants over applicants from outside the neighborhood. Keep separate slots for English native and partner language native. For immersion programs at Cesar Chavez, Beach, and Woodlawn, give kindergarten applicants from within the defined neighborhood priority over those from outside the neighborhood. For Beach specifically, and for example, this would probably mean that the lottery slots for “Transfer Native English” would be filled by “Neighborhood Nat6ive English.”
(6) Benefits of immersion
Dual language immersion programs are the best way to gain second language skills and proficiency. And second language skills are increasingly important and in demand. The 2015-16 lottery (the latest data available) place 522 kindergarteners in dual language immersion programs. That was 12.7% of the October 2015 kindergartener count. 487 applicants, 11.9%, were turned away. Data does not include the Le Monde French Charter School. Count includes first, second and third choices as in prior years.
But dual language immersion programs have significant and documented benefits beyond that. The PPS-Rand “Study of Dual-Language Immersion in Portland Public Schools” documented that both foreign language native and English native speakers in dual language immersion programs “outperformed their peers on state accountability tests in reading by about seven month of learning in grade 5, and nine months of learning in grade 8.” Looked at another way, all students in PPS not in immersions programs will be nine month behind dual language immersion students by grade
(7) Source for additional Spanish dual language immersion teachers
More Spanish immersion teacher are becoming available. PPS has a new source. In April, 2016, I reported:
“Portland Public Schools is expanding its sources of new bilingual teachers.
“First, Portland State University now has 47 potential new bilingual teachers enrolled in its new residential teacher training and certification program. All these teacher training students will qualify for restricted teacher licenses and could be in be in PPS classrooms this fall. They can apply for the external round of PPS teacher openings which opens May 9th.
“All these potential new teacher are bilingual: 31 in Spanish, 5 in Mandarin, 4 in Arabic, 3 in Japanese, 2 in Vietnamese, and 2 in Russian.. Not all of them are elementary immersion teachers. Some will teach higher grades. 16 of these 47 currently work for PPS.
“This new PSU residential training model reorganizes the sequencing of courses and teaching experiences to put teachers in classrooms with students sooner. The teachers still need to complete the same PSU coursework.
“Second, PPS is sending bilingual teacher recruiting teams to Puerto Rico and Spain, and is interviewing interested Mexican teachers through skype on the internet. No report yet on any successes.”