Last fall I visited Oakland’s Melrose Leadership Academy, which had just begun a new Spanish-English immersion program, starting with a kindergarten class of about 35 students. When the teacher said “stand up” in Spanish (90 percent of kindergarten instruction is in Spanish), at least a third of the children — most of the native English-speakers — sat on the rug, looking around in confusion.
English-speaking parents at the school — who are likewise addressed by most of the staff in Spanish — said they gained an appreciation for what English learners and their families experience in California’s schools.
I went back last week for the kindergarten promotion ceremony to get a sense of how far the children had come. I made a short video with my handy new flip camera to go with the story in today’s Tribune.