She got in!!

Violet is starting dual language kindergarten this fall!  This is the culmination of three years of hard work and, while it didn’t turn out exactly how I’d hoped, I am SO excited.  And terrified.  And relieved.  And… well… let’s just say there is a lot to think about.

Here’s our journey in a nutshell:

We moved to Austin after teaching English in Korea for 3 years.  I got into the Foreign Language Education Master’s program at UT.  After Violet was born I wondered what dual language program she would attend, only to realize that there isn’t one here.

So I started my own website to to to mobilize like-minded locals.  Then I joined forces with Austin Community School, a proposed dual language charter, and eventually became board secretary.  This was the only DL game in town.  What happened for the next 3 years was a lesson in how ridiculous, frustrating, and scary bureaucracy and educational politics can be, especially in Texas.   Add this to the usual strains of recruiting and working with volunteers in the world of non-profits and the result is a lot of work for not a lot of reward.

So ACS is not open… yet.  But what about Violet and Graham?  The way dual language education works is that kids start in kinder or 1st grade and stick with the program for at least 5 years.  If Violet misses that window she’s out of luck.

Thankfully a new superintendent swept into Austin, turning the district’s long held belief about bilingual education on its head.  ACS joined in the effort to get a DL program started in AISD.  Their board eventually voted to start 4 pilot programs this fall.

They held a lottery for the limited number of slots, and we won a spot!  Unfortunately, the program isn’t in our neighborhood school.  But it is in a school close to Rob’s work.  He’ll drop Violet off every morning.

So this is the end of the beginning.  Now we see exactly what we’ve gotten ourselves into.  I have ridiculous amounts to say on the subject.  And you know what that means…  a New Blog!  Yes, I’ll be pontificating about dual language immersion and our journey towards becoming a bilingual family.   It’s called “¿Y Ahora Que?” and so far there is absolutely nothing on it.  But put it in your feed reader anyway.

6 responses to “She got in!!”

  1. Mom/Granny

    This is really cool Cheris!! You are such a fantastic writer! I love it!

  2. Dad L

    Congrats! She’ll be a hit there –no doubt!

  3. Joe

    Oh, that’s so AWESOME Cheris! Congratulations!

  4. Kristen

    Felicitaciones. Creo que es muy importante que hay programas como asi pero no hay mucho aqui (en Rhode Island) tampoco. La escuela (charter) donde Drew va a asistir en el ano que viene es mas o menos lo mismo. La idea es que todos van a aprender en ingles y espanol pero el problema grande es que no hay suficiente maestros que pueden hablar espanol. Que triste. Pues, vamos a ver. Quiero oir mucho de tus experiencias con este nuevo programa. Buena suerte!

  5. Gramma L

    Whatever Kristen said, I agree! I know that she, of all people, is very supportive!
    Cheris, I am soooo proud of you and I’m soooo excited for the kids. You are such a “take charge” person and you worked so hard for this. My sweet grandkids are lucky to have a mom like you in their corner. Now this summer when you come to visit we won’t be all stressed out wondering about the outcome of the July, 2009 struggle while you slaved from NY to keep the project going. As you say to the kids, “GOOD JOB!”

  6. Heather

    This is really exciting, and I’ll be following the new blog with great interest. What is this blog feeder you speak of? Kidding, sort of, but which one do you use? Can you believe I don’t use one? It would make life much easier, I’d imagine.

    p.s. Sorry we’re missing you at the campout today. I was looking forward to getting to hang out with you guys for once. 🙁 We’re contemplating a move to south Austin, though, so maybe we’ll end up in the same neck of the woods eventually.

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