To the editor:
The Bainbridge Island School District began an elementary-level Spanish immersion pilot project in 2012.
This pilot is a mixed-grade (K-4) classroom of 25 children, housed this year at the Commodore Options campus. Our kindergarten-aged daughter was accepted into the program days before school began. Although it has only been five months, we are thrilled about the class and its outcome thus far.
We know that there is some frustration and confusion about how this pilot program began, its future, and how it fits into the long-term goals of the school district.
On Feb. 12th, the school district is hosting an information night, at Commodore Options (6:30-8:30 p.m.). I want to encourage all interested parents and people to join us to see what the children have done so far and to learn what the pilot might look like as an ongoing program.
Our kindergartner is our oldest child. We knew from living on Bainbridge Island that the public schools are well regarded, but when it came time to pick a kindergarten class last spring, we could not find the right fit for our child. By May we had enrolled her in an island private school. Later in the summer, we heard about the Spanish Immersion pilot and were incredibly excited to put her on the wait list. This pilot brought us back into the fold of the Bainbridge Island School District family.
The U.S. has been slower than much of the rest of the world to embrace standard and comprehensive second-language education. By offering innovative programs like Spanish Immersion, the Bainbridge Island School District creates options that make the public schools more attractive to a larger swath of island families and can help reverse the current trend of falling enrollment in the district.
This pilot can and should be just the beginning. The lessons that the students, parents, teachers, administrators and community are learning from this pilot are crucial to creating thoughtful and comprehensive world language curriculum for all students in the district.
So please join us on Feb. 12. See what has been created, give your input, and help us and the Bainbridge Island School District enable the best possible future for our children.