Geddes Elementary: Dual Language Early On Reaps Benefits Later

I thought I had posted this last week but the letter gremlins seem to have taken it away into space.

“It’s important for me, because my children are from here. I’m from Mexico, and I want them to know their origins,” said Ana Lepe, speaking in Spanish. The 40-year-old mother of three has sent all of her children to Geddes because she also believes being bilingual will help them get better jobs in the future.

I liked this story because this school is obviously one where bilingualism is really treasured and supported by all within the community. Once again the question of jobs when the children reach school-leaving age are a focus, but sadly this is often forgotten by the policy makers.

What is useful for teachers is If you go through the links there is also a video showing how some of this is achieved.

“There’s a lot of research now that shows that dual-immersion programs/bilingual programs are teaching kids to read better,” she added.

One reason the dual-language program works at Geddes is because it’s one part of a strong academic structure, school officials say. Castro is obsessed with data: Teachers give assessments every two weeks in math and reading to see how their students are progressing and where they might need help.

As bi-literacy starts to become popular and general literacy is a focus in both USA and UK schools there are some lessons that can be definitely learnt from this school. Especially those wishing to become strong free bilingual schools.

The initial news story is interesting but if you go into the school website there are some amazing facts about their achievements.


The Challenge: For English Language Learners, mastering the language is even more difficult if they struggle with their first language.
The Solution: At Geddes Elementary School in Baldwin Park, Calif., young students in the dual-language program are taught in Spanish 90% of the day until third grade. This approach has led to significant achievement gains, with 60% of third-graders scoring proficient or above in English language arts in 2011.


Geddes Elementary School’s API score (California’s system for rating schools based on reading and math test scores) rose from 678 to 838 over four years, exceeding the state target of 800. Proficiency on English language arts tests doubled to 62 percent, and the percentage of the school’s students who are proficient in math rose by half, to 74 percent.


In the 2005-06 school year, 391 students (out of 901) had unexcused absences or were tardy at least three times at Geddes. The truancy rate was 43 percent. In 2010-11, by contrast, 192 students (out of 703) had unexcused absences or were frequently tardy. The truancy rate fell to 27 percent.


Parental participation went from only a handful of parents regularly visiting the school to between 40 and 50 attending monthly meetings with the principal.

The original news story can be found here:

The school information can be found here:


Bilingual Case officer – Bristol

Bilingual Case Manager (Welsh) Bilingual Case Officer (Welsh)

You will work with senior inspectors as part of a team handling applications for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) such as nuclear power stations and large wind farms.

As a bilingual case manager you will take a lead role in managing and supporting the process for a number of projects. You will be highly organised and able to project manage a team. You will also be involved in representing PINS in the Welsh media so will be a confident communicator. You will be expected to uphold the highest standards of impartiality.

As a bilingual case officer you will support case managers and will have responsibility for handling queries and cases in the Welsh language. For both roles you must be fluent in the Welsh language with excellent oral and written communication in both English and Welsh.

Closing date: 28th September 2012.

Parents “hiding” or suppressing their native tongue so as to defend their children from vicious racism has caused the widespread social tragedy of heritage language loss.

Some interesting background information into immigration particularly in Bedford, Canada in the 19th Century and its impact in the 21st Century. How many other countries have similar needs to this where they have needed extra personnel and encourage global mobility for job fulfillment then years later forget about it. What is interesting as in the blog a few days ago it actively says that:

Parents “hiding” or suppressing their native tongue so as to defend their children from vicious racism has caused the widespread social tragedy of heritage language loss.

This is still happening in so many educational places rather than celebrating the differences such a shame for the children, the parents and the language.

If you are interested in the full article here it is.

Your View: Esperanza prospectus a return to city’s bilingual education heritage
By The Rev. Marc Fallon
The Rev. Marc Fallon works in the office of Catholic Social Services in New Bedford. He is a member of United Interfaith Action.

New Bedford’s economic history suggests that current employment dislocations and the need for recalibration of job skills are cyclical. As the whaling era ended in the late 19th century, New Bedford was among the many New England cities receiving migrants to staff the labor-intensive textile mills. While Poles, Irish, Italians, Azoreans, Cape Verdeans and Portugese crossed the Atlantic, local descendants of Francophone Quebecois continental migrants continue to remember and celebrate their forebears’ many contributions. They valued their faith, culture and language, developing a remarkably successful bilingual education system that graduated English-speaking textile workers and workers in many other positions and professions. Yet as we recall the cultural divide between local power brokers and immigrant textile workers of a century ago, it challenges credulity that the city would ignore the wishes of Latino parents for the highest quality education for their children.

As much as the Canadian 1867 Confederation sought to defend minority rights regionally, the Quebecois were ready to respond to the labor opportunities in New England textile factories. The new workers arrived with an ingrained distrust of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant power cartel they knew in Montreal and apparently transferred this to the local establishment. Deposit their paychecks in Anglo banks? Hardly. The viability of St. Anne’s Federal Credit Union today reminds of the financial institutions that emerged from Catholic parish basements in Fall River, Biddeford and throughout New England. The Francophone Catholic clergy journeyed here in sufficient numbers to staff the “national” parishes. The community placed paramount importance on the bilingual parish schools that would propagate the faith, teach cultural traditions and prepare students for their working careers. I know this because my ancestors in the Congregation of Holy Cross did the teaching.

St. Anthony of Padua Parish opened their school in September 1896 to 300 students before the parish’s first anniversary. Ten years later, 900 students studied in a facility with 14 classrooms and the building now housing the Global Learning Charter School opened in 1924. As the women and men of the Congregations of Holy Cross rebuilt schools in the aftermath of the French revolution, they also traveled with economic migrants to South Bend, Ind., Saint-Laurent, Quebec and elsewhere in North America. Les Soeurs de Sainte-Croix arrived in New Bedford and staffed St. Anthony’s school with two sections for each year K-8, with one section studying in French while their counterparts learned in English during the morning and reversing the curriculum for the afternoon. It appears that catechesis, the history of Canada, and French language and literature built upon the first language of the students (no doubt appeasing parents concerned about foreign cultural influences in the new land) while math, science, geography, U.S. history and English grammar increasingly brought the eighth-grade graduates to full bilingual competency before entering high school.

A century has passed, and the Vatican II Council and countless social changes have taken place in the interim. The 2010 census cries out to us that 17 percent of the city is Latino, a population of internal migrants of the Americas with tremendous similarities to the social characteristics of the Quebecois textile workers. While Catholic religious life is in a very different place than a century ago, a new generation of committed educators and social activists see clearly the local social inequities. Still, one cannot help but be struck by the structural indifference to the educational needs of this population on the part of those elected to serve them.

United Interfaith Action supports the Esperanza School of Language and Culture Prospectus for an Innovation School. Beginning with three grades of K-2, this school would teach students with Latino parents (English Language Learners) in both English and Spanish throughout the school day, eventually developing a K-8 model. This proposal relates to young bilingual students in appreciation of their linguistic and cultural capital, as opposed to the myopic and misanthropic power structure that would track the children to nothing beyond the low-wage jobs of their parents. Parents “hiding” or suppressing their native tongue so as to defend their children from vicious racism has caused the widespread social tragedy of heritage language loss.

The reactionary anti-immigrant xenophobes won their referendum against the state bilingual education program 10 years ago and then skipped town, leaving a vulnerable population with no support. To document that only 36 percent of ELL students are progressing in English language acquisition is to witness a profound social disaster. One must wonder if those in City Hall who discuss education ever speak with those concerned with economic development. Who could cross the present chasm?

We the clergy and faithful members of United Interfaith Action urge that the School Committee adopt the Esperanza School of Language and Culture Prospectus for an Innovation School in testament to the invaluable heritage of bilingual education in New Bedford and the genuine hope it offers for Latino students and parents.