August 21, 2011

Proposed Somerville Charter School To Focus on ESL


Proposed Somerville charter school to focus on ESL
By Matt Byrne
August 4, 2011

Drawing on the needs of a deeply multicultural student population, a proposal to bring a 425-seat charter school to Somerville will focus largely on teaching youngsters who grapple with learning English as a second language, according to documentation submitted to the state.

The Somerville Progressive Charter School would serve kindergartners through eighth grade, according to the 168-page prospectus.

The document is the first step toward winning approval from education officials, who will meet in February to decide the school's future. If all goes to plan, the school would start classes in the fall of next year.

The proposal comes from the Somerville Group for Progressive Education, a group with ties to the International Charter School in Pawtucket, R.I., which has a similar focus on language skills in a community heavily populated by Spanish and Portuguese speakers.

To achieve its goals, the school plans to implement for some students all-day English instruction, after school programs conducted in speakers' native languages of Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish, and a two-way immersion program that will see youngsters engaged in classroom work in both their native language and English.

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