Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Immersion School in the South End

This article appeared in the PI today.

"The district plans to announce Thursday that Beacon Hill Elementary will be designated an international school offering immersion or partial immersion programs in Spanish and Mandarin as well as an English-immersion program for non-English speaking students. The programs will start next fall."

"The school district looked at several possible languages, including Arabic, Russian and Korean, but chose Mandarin for the new program based on demand, said Karen Kodama, international education coordinator for Seattle Public Schools."

Great news although it seems like it might be a difficult thing to coordinate both full and partial immersion classes (I don't think John Stanford does it that way- anyone?). As the story notes, the population at Beacon Hill is likely to be more diverse than at John Stanford. Sadly, there are only 380 seats (not a small school but not big). There's likely to be a big competition to get in here.

Looking ahead, again, the district puts out these programs but needs to follow thru. Meaning, I have heard a few things about which high school will be the feeder school for these immersion schools (after all, after Hamilton, where will they go?). Someone mentioned Roosevelt but I don't see a lot of enthusiasm coming out for that because of the overcrowding at Roosevelt. I think some parents would go ballistic if there were set-aside seats for a new program. I think a school where there is growing room - Ingraham or Hale or Rainier Beach, for example - might be a better choice.


Anonymous said...

Chief Sealth already has Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish world language offerings, and is the most diverse high school in the state. It seems like a much more logical choice for an International High School than any suggested above.

The smartest choice would be to create north/south tracks with Beacon Hill and Concord (Spanish Immersion) students feeding into Denny, then Sealth, and a north end track with the Stanford School feeding into Hamilton and then whatever North-end High School such as Ingraham that offers Spanish and Japanese.

Anonymous said...

Sealth's IB program also has an international focus. I agree that this makes a good deal of sense.

Melissa Westbrook said...

These ideas have a lot of merit. It would also make sense to have Denny have an immersion program tos as well. If you have two elementary schools (both about 380) it is unlikely one middle school could serve both. Since Denny and Sealth are so close by each other (and may be even closer still if the joint campus gets built), they could easily collaborate together on curriculum.

Someone should tell Carla.

Anonymous said...

I wish there could be more than one elementary in each area of the city. I'm leaning towards private school for my daughter (after having taught in SPS for seven years) but space in an immersion program would definitely keep me in SPS.