Everyone gets on the waitlist: ICS #2

If you apply to Independence Charter School you will get a spot on the waitlist.   They pick every last name out of the box.  This year the waitlist was somewhere around 380 spots long.   Getting off the waitlist is another issue: 1-10 will likely get a spot, 10-20 still very promising, 20-30 is possible, after 30 is very unlikely.   I’m sure this varies from year to year.  I was told it’s largely dependent on how many people choose private school over ICS.

The funny thing about the ICS waitlist is that the school that got you on, may not be the school that gets you off.   What do I mean by that?  ICS has two tracts with regards to Spanish language instruction: immersion and enhanced.  Both have a 90/10 split in Kindergarten.  Immersion Read the rest of this entry »

More On Language Immersion

After my post last week on language immersion programs in the area, an Independence Charter parent emailed me a list of resources on the philosophy of language immersion.  This list is from the Independence Charter website.

Recommended Websites

Research on language acquisition
Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)

Parent/teacher resources
Ñanduti: Foreign language learning for grades K-8 (run through CAL)
Contains section on learning benefits of early language acquisition.

Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
A collection of newsletter articles, including “Immersion 101” and “Points for Parents.”

Additional parent resources are listed in the Parents section.

Specific articles
“Why Immersion?”
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
“What Parents Want to Know About Foreign Language Immersion Programs”
Center for Applied Linguistics
“Homework in an Immersion Classroom: Parental Friend or Foe?”
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition

Language Immersion And Philly Primary Schools

In the book, Critical Issues in Early Second Language Learning: Building for Our Children’s Future Myriam Met collected a series of essays and studies on foreign language study in early childhood (abstract).

In sum, the essays assert that learning a second language at an early age…

  • Has a positive effect on intellectual growth.
  • Enriches and enhances a child’s mental development.
  • Leaves students with more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
  • Improves a child’s understanding of his or her native language.
  • Gives a child the ability to communicate with people he or she would otherwise not have had the chance to know.
  • Opens the door to other cultures and helps the child understand and appreciate people from other countries.
  • Gives the child a head start in language requirements for college.
  • Increases job opportunities in many careers in which knowing another language is a real asset.

An interesting point that is made in the book is that Read the rest of this entry »

My Dilemma

So my family has attended three open houses in the last two days.  As you would expect, there were some things that we liked and some things that we disliked about the different schools that we visited.

My dilemma is how to document those impressions on this forum.  I am not a journalist seeking to write objectively, I am just a dad sharing my experiences.  What I perceive to be weaknesses of a particular school might not be important or might even be considered to be strengths by other parents.  I do not wish to engage in criticizing any school, ranking schools, or debating which school is better in some marginally objective way.  I will not evangelize for any school.  Ultimately my family will select a school for my son (and later for my daughter), and I will share that decision.  However, I have learned enough at this stage of the process to know that selection of a school is a personal matter for a family that involves a whole host of factors, many of which have nothing to do with the school at all.

Ultimately, I have decided to limit my posts on my open house experiences to the following:

  • The process of evaluating schools
  • uniquely positive things that I observe about particular schools that I am researching–for example, I am already drafting a post about language immersion.  Stay tuned!

I am more than happy to privately discuss my impressions of specific schools.  Contact me or send me a direct message on twitter.