Everything is on hold!

The slumber party saga will have to wait.  For now I’m on a mission.

acs-logoHere’s the deal:  I’ve spent the past two years working on opening this dual language immersion school.  To say it has been an uphill battle is an understatement.  Along with the usual personality conflicts, we’ve got the “You’re in America!  Speak American!” attitude to contend with.  (To which I have to say, “DUH.  Of course we want everyone to speak English.  We just want Americans to catch up with the rest of the world and learn another language when it’s easy: as a kid!  If you’d stop thinking the U.S.A. is at the center of the universe for one flipping second you’d realize that we’re putting the ourselves and the country at a huge disadvantage.”)

Well, the good news is that on July 16th, we may have our last chance to win a charter for Austin Community dual language school.  For those of you not in Texas, the government here puts a cap on the number of charters (don’t even get me started on the idiocy of that policy).  The only way we can get a charter is to wait for another one to fail.  The problem for us is that the dual language programs really only let kids join in kindergarten or first grade.  Violet starts kinder next year.  So the clock is ticking.  She may not get another shot at this.

To me, this issue is so important we’ve considered moving from Austin to somewhere that offers a dual language immersion education.  It just boggles my mind that every parent in the country isn’t beating down the school board doors to demand this.

But I digress.  I could digress all day.  So I’ll stop and ask you to help Violet and Graham have the chance to learn another language so they’ll be able to tell secrets right in front of my face.  Or get really really good jobs in the future. Here are 4 ways to do it:

  1. Donate $10. The State Board wants to see money in the bank. Just ten dollars from all of our supporters would boost our bottom line quickly. Keep in mind that a) we are a non-profit, so your donations are tax deductible and b) many companies match non-profit donations, so check with your employer. (Paypal button here)
  2. Spread the word. Send 2 people (or more) information about ACS. Link them to our website, our Facebook & Twitter accounts, or give them our flyer. Keep in mind that our content is in Spanish and English, so don’t hesitate to contact Spanish speakers.
  3. Send the State Board a letter. Tell them you want this school. Use our form letter or, better yet, your own words. (see below)
  4. Come to our presentation! July 16th at 1 p.m. in the Room 1-111 of the William B. Travis Building. We need to show the Board that ACS has community support. Having a group behind us during our 10 minutes will tip the decision in our favor. (click here for the map).

Thank you Thank you!!

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(send the following to sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us)

Dear State Board of Education Members,

I am very interested in having Austin Community School improve our educational choices in Austin. This dual language (DL) and international baccalaureate (IB) school brings two highly effective educational programs together to develop all students—regardless of their home language and economic status– into English- and Spanish-speakers who can read, write, and work in both languages. The IB curriculum supports DL by equipping students with the skills to learn and acquire knowledge, individually or collaboratively, and to apply these skills and knowledge across a broad range of areas. ACS students become life-long learners, who are well prepared for college and our changing global workplace. Many universities require the ability to think creatively and problem-solve but also call for a second language. In addition, multiple language fluency is increasingly required to work in business, the military, the government, or education.

Children from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and races will work together in the same classroom at ACS, becoming resources for each other. This program is based on the ideal 50/50 enrollment of Spanish- and English-speaking students. Research proves that African-American, Latino, and Caucasians from all demographics who have completed dual language programs become academically and conversationally fluent in Spanish and English, graduate, and go on to college at high rates.

Facts About Dual Language (DL) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs:

  • DL and IB schools employ specially trained high quality teachers
  • ACS replicates long-successful European and Canadian DL and IB programs
  • Public DL programs are now offered and successful in most major cities in the USA including San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, El Paso
  • DL students exhibit increased cognitive skills and self-esteem
  • Longitudinal studies show DL dramatically increases state test scores
  • Only DL closes the achievement gap for 2nd language English-learners
  • DL is more effective for students below grade level than remedial ESL programs
  • DL is structured to accommodate the fact that we learn languages best as children

I want a DL IB program for the future of my family, Austin and Texas.  Please vote for Austin Community School on July 16th.

Sincerely,

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