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                <h3 class="gmail-title">Davis High English immersion program lauded; will new board policy send it ‘backward’?</h3>
            <div id="gmail-story-body-items"><div class="gmail-byline element-spacing-small"><p><span class="gmail-ng_byline_name">By Ken Carlson</span></p><p><span class="gmail-ng_byline_email">
                                            <a href="mailto:kcarlson@modbee.com">kcarlson@modbee.com</a>
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                            September 19, 2018 05:53 PM
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                                    <p>A program for immigrant high 
schoolers in Modesto City Schools has won awards for immersing the 
students in English, enabling them to complete graduation requirements 
and attend college.</p>
                                    <p>Yet, leaders of the program say a
 new school board policy will make things tougher for the students to 
get the college education they need to thrive in their adopted country.</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">“We 
feel we are going backwards,” said Amelia Herrera, a teacher at Davis 
High School’s Language Institute. “There are going to be quite a few 
students that could have gone to a four-year college caught in the 
crosshairs of the new policy.”</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">The students in
 the Davis program include recent immigrants from Latin American 
countries and refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan whose families were 
resettled in Modesto.</p>

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                                    <p class="MsoNormal">The Davis 
program helps the students with acculturation and gives them confidence 
to pursue an education. A new district policy, however, won’t allow the 
college-bound students to use a “fifth year” option to take courses 
making them eligible for university admission. </p>

                                    <p class="MsoNormal">In addition, the extra year can’t be used for improving their English in order to succeed in college.</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Program leaders
 and district officials said this week that the college options for LI 
graduates are now mostly limited to junior college. The fifth year or 
“super senior” option is only for completing high school graduation 
requirements, school board President Amy Neumann confirmed. </p>
                                    <p>“The district is trying to 
provide a high school diploma to as many students as come through the 
door,” Neumann said. “Whether they get to A-G depends on the student.” 
A-G is a term referring to University of California coursework 
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Lindsey Bird, 
who’s been coordinator of the Davis program, created in 2009, said she 
was not aware of the change in policy until students, by order of the 
district office, were moved from language classes to mainstream 
classrooms at the start of the fall semester. There’s concern some 
newcomer students had not acquired enough English ability to learn in 
those classrooms.</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Bird said early
 this week that she has not been able to give parents much of an 
explanation for the new policy. “We started asking questions and (the 
district) kept telling us it was the will of the board,” she said.</p>

                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Students in the
 Language Institute often need extra time to prepare for college, 
because they first need to learn English and then take mainstream 
coursework. It’s virtually impossible for teenage new arrivals to 
squeeze in college eligibility courses unless they have an extra year.<br><br></p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Many granted an extra year are simply getting a fourth year of high school.</p>
                                    <p>Upward of 90 percent of Language 
Institute graduates each year have moved on to college, which is among 
the reasons the program earned awards from the California School Board 
Association and California Department of Education in 2015. About 10 
percent of the graduates last year had plans to attend a four-year 
college and many planned to attend Modesto Junior College.</p>
                                    <p>The program’s top students have 
regularly spoken at school board meetings about equal opportunity in 
higher education. Last spring about 20 LI students who applied for an 
extra year were placed in limbo while the school district worked on a 
fifth-year policy, which is offered to students districtwide who have 
good behavior. Foster teens or children of military families sometimes 
exercise the option.</p>
                                    <p>To help accommodate the newcomer 
students, the school board approved an enrollment policy that places 16-
 or 17-year-olds in 10th grade to help them catch up on the education 
they missed during the resettlement process. In addition, the new fifth 
year option is open to 19- or 20-year-olds. Students must be able to 
graduate in that extra year.<br><br></p>


                                    <p>At a May workshop and two board 
meetings in June, LI students and members of a coalition that supports 
them urged the board to support the students’ desire for a diploma and 
college education. Supporters did not hear board discussion, however, on
 imposing restrictions on fifth-year coursework.</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">“We would have 
hit the roof had they told us our students were not eligible for the 
time they need to graduate literate and university eligible,” said Bird,
 who’s an outspoken advocate for the students.</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Trustee Chad 
Brown said Tuesday that he recently heard about the changes affecting 
the Language Institute. “It was not my intent,” he said. “I really want 
to research this more.”</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Marla Mack, 
associate superintendent of education services, said that completing 
requirements for a diploma is the purpose of the district-wide 
fifth-year option. She said that 80 percent of LI students self-report a
 plan to attend MJC after graduation. In some cases, students in the 
Language Institute might be able to work in A-G classes by the time they
 graduate. </p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Bird suggested 
that district officials may not understand that her students need the 
extra time to work on English literacy before attending MJC. The 
refugees and immigrants, many of whom arrive with limited English and 
gaps in education, face serious obstacles to getting an education.</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Rosario Piceno,
 whose daughter just entered the program, said the freshman should have 
more options when it’s time to graduate from high school.<br><br></p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">“I went to MJC 
and got stuck and never finished,” the parent said. “There was not 
enough room in the classes I needed. My daughter has wanted to be a 
veterinarian since she was 4 years old.”</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">Joy Koski, a 
site coordinator for the district’s Advancement Via Individual 
Determination, or AVID, program, said the service to help students 
prepare for college admission has to show it’s inclusive of the entire 
student population. A number of LI students wear the AVID shirts when 
they speak at school board meetings. </p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">“We have had a 
lot of success with students coming into the (Language Institute) and 
not had that many who needed extra time,” Koski said. Language Institute
 graduates who are at four-year colleges are an inspiration for younger 
students who have the same dream.</p>
                                    <p class="MsoNormal">“It is disappointing we are not going to continue with that process,” Koski said</p><div style="width:1px;height:1px;color:rgb(0,0,0);font:10pt sans-serif;text-align:left;text-transform:none;overflow:hidden"><br>Read more here: <a href="https://www.modbee.com/latest-news/article218668970.html#storylink=cpy">https://www.modbee.com/latest-news/article218668970.html#storylink=cpy</a></div>

<br clear="all"><br>-- <br><div dir="ltr" class="gmail_signature" data-smartmail="gmail_signature">=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+<br><br> Harold F. Schiffman<br><br>Professor Emeritus of <br> Dravidian Linguistics and Culture <br>Dept. of South Asia Studies                     <br>University of Pennsylvania<br>Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305<br><br>Phone:  (215) 898-7475<br>Fax:  (215) 573-2138                                      <br><br>Email:  <a href="mailto:haroldfs@gmail.com" target="_blank">haroldfs@gmail.com</a><br><a href="http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/" target="_blank">http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/</a>    <br><br>-------------------------------------------------</div></div>