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Santa Rosa school board boosts Spanish immersion program

The Santa Rosa School Board on Wednesday rallied behind the idea of establishing a Spanish-English immersion program in the district but stopped short of hiring a consultant to steer the early stages of the process.

Board members expressed concern both about hiring educational consultant Dickson Schwarzbach for $6,190 and the proposed plan to establish academic standards over the summer.

But the prospect of developing the language program received praise and board members pushed district officials to rework the plan and give an updated proposal at the board meeting on June 27.

"I'm just not sure that this is the way to get this knowledge, I am not convinced of that," board member Bill Carle said. "I want to know who has the hot shot dual immersion program right now. I want to know who has the successful program right now. I don't want to start this mediocre."

Board members expressed concern that putting off a move for a month would slow momentum for a project that surfaced in reaction to the closure of of Doyle Park Elementary School and decision to locate the French American Charter School on that site.

The board on March 14 directed staff to develop a plan to study to feasibility of establishing a Spanish language immersion program by 2013-14.

"Dual immersion programs have a specific way they are set up," said trustee Laura Gonzalez, who at one time taught at Cali Calmecac Language Academy in Windsor. "It's not like Santa Rosa can do a lot of things different and call it a dual immersion. Instead of a survey, I kind of feel like if we build it, they will come."


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