It’s hard to believe that in just seven months my girl will be starting a whole new stage in life: kindergarten. That means that we are now deep in the process of touring dual language immersion programs, applications and crossing fingers to get a spot in one of our top choices.
Just three years ago when we launched this blog, I visited what was then Benjamin Franklin Elementary school in the Glendale Unified District in California. We wrote a series of posts about this school and the district because they were one of the few in the Los Angeles County area to successfully implement dual language, or two-way, immersion programs. This particular school, Franklin, had just launched with the German program and were already getting huge requests to launch a Spanish and an Italian program. Thanks to the parents and the district working closely together, the school has now become so wildly popular that in 2011 it received funding to become a language magnet school.
The School We Really Want
Beautiful for them, not the best news for us since we had moved to the Glendale district two years ago just to be eligible to enter Franklin. Now, we will have to join the hundreds of parents praying that luck is with them on February 9th when the public lottery is held to fill the 24 or so spots available in the Spanish DL program in what’s now known as the Franklin Elementary Magnet School.
As you can imagine, we really, really want to get into this school. Not only because it’s a four minute drive from our house, but because the quality of parent and teacher involvement is amazing. Since the school is now only a language magnet (German, Italian, Spanish and, starting in 2012, French), every single parent there is completely invested in making the program a success, and many have emotional and cultural ties to their children being educated in their native languages.
The Draw of the Luck
The way the lottery works is that the first priority goes to siblings. Every single sibling has the right to be placed. Once those slots are taken (and apparently there are a lot of siblings entering this year, much to our chagrin), then the second priority goes to balance out the proportion of native English-language speakers versus Spanish speakers to maintain the 50/50 proportion, as much as possible.
Camila had to attend a language proficiency test in order to place her in the fluent category. I was so nervous because I felt this is our best chance at securing a spot. Thankfully, she totally passed as fluent; marking this as a milestone of the first time her bilingual skills opened up a door for her.
On February 9th we’ll know if she’ll make it in or not. For us, this also means that we’ll know if we’ll have to move or not. Yes, move. We know it’s drastic, but we really want her to attend a dual language immersion program. Luckily, there have been so many DL programs launched in the Los Angeles County area in the last years, but they are scattered all around and most of them are charters or magnets, meaning our girl’s bilingual education and our next neighborhood is bound to be decided by sheer luck.
I’ll keep you posted as to what happens the day of the lottery and which are the other schools on our radar if we don’t get picked for Franklin Elementary Magnet. I’ll also remind you on Feb. 9th to help us with your positive thoughts to get that lottery to pick our name!!
Share: Would love to read your kindergarten-enrollment stories, especially if your child made it into a charter or magnet.