Well, this is kind of old news by now (Tim has been encouraging me to do a post about it for at least a month) but I am finally writing about my new job! I’ve now been at it for about a month and I have to say, not only is it a job, but it’s a near perfect job.
The first two weeks or so were spent in training after training but school started on August 30th so I’ve now had three weeks to get a sense for what this job entails.
Mount View Elementary is in the Highline School District in the heart of White Center. If you know the White Center neighborhood, you know that it is anything but white in terms of demographics. Mount View is quite ethnically diverse and one of the coolest parts of the school is its Dual Language program.
Dual Language (DL) is a research based way to help English Language Learners (ELL) gain English fluency, while also offering native English speakers a chance to learn a second language. DL programs are run in many different ways but ours runs like this: Families have to apply for the program before their child begins Kindergarten. The program is popular enough that there is usually a lottery to determine who makes it in. The program accepts 50% native English speakers and 50% native Spanish speakers. These students will continue as a cohort all the way until 6th grade. In K and 1st grade, students learn Language Arts only in their native language (because research shows that if students have a strong base in their first language, they will have a much easier time getting a solid grasp on a second language). They learn Math in English, and Science/Social Studies in Spanish. By 2nd grade, students start getting literacy instruction in their second language and by 6th grade, it is expected that all students will be bilingual and biliterate.
The reason why I’ve given so many details about this program is because it is my job to coordinate the program. This involves managing materials, schedules, aides, placement, assessment, and many other logistics. I really believe in this program and Tim and I are excited about the possibility of Abigail entering DL when she starts Kindergarten.
In addition to the DL program, I also coordinate ELL services for students in any (whether DL or not) classroom in the school. This mostly involves helping teachers determine who the ELL students are in their classes as well as providing coaching and professional development on strategies for helping ELL students to gain English fluency.
Besides the fact that I like my job duties a lot, the school demographic is exactly the type I am most drawn to (you can find more information about the school here), the principal and staff are fabulous, and the school is five minutes from our house.
We are SO thankful for this amazing provision.