December 31, 2011

Parents Win Reprieve for Glendale German Immersion Program


After intense rallying, parents win reprieve for Glendale German program
By Tami Abdollah
December 21, 2011

It all began last Tuesday when Glendale’s deputy superintendent John Garcia recommended the board phase out the German language immersion program at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School to make room for a new French program.

In about a week, a couple dozen parents helped mobilize an assault on the Glendale Unified School District that involved hundreds of sent emails, dozens of phone calls and multiple meetings.

If the parents were blindsided by the decision to phase-out the program, school officials were equally surprised by their reaction.

“As the representative of this district, I do want to apologize, because obviously we had a breakdown in communication,” said Glendale Unified School District superintendent Richard Sheehan, as he stared out into a sea of “I Love German Immersion” T-shirts, buttons and signs. “...We owe it to you to communicate better.”

Sheehan said the district will enroll a full German kindergarten class for next fall, and create a task force of parents and staff to look into the long-term viability of the program. The task force will return with results of its review by mid-April. It will report the findings to the school board and at a meeting with parents, Sheehan said. A French immersion program will still be added next year as planned, Sheehan said.

Glendale Unified School District offers one of the nation’s leading dual-immersion programs with six languages, including German, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Japanese and Armenian, offered on nine campuses. French will make it seven languages.

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Read a related article in the Los Angeles Times at,0,7519414.story

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