December 22, 2011

Portland May Get Its First Public French Immersion School


Portland may get its first public French immersion school
By Betsy Hammond
December 13, 2011

After a lengthy public hearing and discussion Monday, the Portland school board is poised to decide Thursday whether to approve the metro area's first public French immersion school.

Backers of the proposed Le Monde Public Charter School want to open a 400-student full immersion French language school in Southwest Portland next fall. They would start with kindergarten and first grade, and all teaching would be in French except a short daily English language lesson for the first-graders, organizers say.

Seattle and Eugene have public schools that offer French immersion, but Portland, with a large and active Francophile community, does not, said Linda Witt, director of the nonprofit Alliance Francaise of Portland, which offers continuing education in French to local adults.

Portland school district staffers who reviewed Le Monde's application and several additional rounds of revised budget and curriculum plans say its meets all state standards and should be allowed to open. School board members, who expressed several concerns Monday, will make the final decision during a Thursday evening meeting.

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