Yesterday I sent the following email to members of the Oregon House Education Committee:
Dear members of the House Committee on Education,
Please tell Portland Public Schools and the Oregon Department of Education to find a way to continue two stands (a strand is one classroom at each grade) of Russian dual language immersion at the K-5 Kelly Elementary School in SE Portland. Oregon and Portland need more, not less, students in Russian immersion programs for our economic and national security future. More Russian immersion should be a high statewide strategic priority. Do not let this cutback happen!
The Portland Public Schools Department of Dual Language at the 2/8/17 meeting of the PPS Teaching and Learning Committee proposed cutting back from two strands to one strand at the Russian dual language immersion program at the K-5 Kelly Elementary School in far SE Portland.
Kelly Elementary School is located in the far SE corner of PPS. It attracts a lot of out-of-PPS, native Russian speaking transfers. It is not conveniently located for within-PPS transfers. PPS has not promoted it well, not really giving Russian immersion the importance it deserves. The follow map show where it is located.
This is the change proposal from the PPS Department Dual Language. Due to poor facility planning by PPS, Kelly is crowded.
As I understand, PPS is proposing to cut back on the “out-of-district” admission of kindergartens. From the following PPS chart, note that, in the Russian immersion program, out of a total of 259 students, 176 (68%) are from “out-of-district.”
When I surveyed immersion programs statewide in 2013-14, Kelly was one of only two Russian immersion programs in Oregon. The other was in the Woodburn School District. Together they then had a kindergarten enrollment of 90 students, or 0.2% of kindergarteners. That was not then the statistic of a state or city concerned about either its economic or national security future.
A Russian immersion cutback would be a failure of strategic vision, both in education and politics in general. Russian immersion programs need to grow. If not at Kelly, then somewhere. Please help!