Stacy Davis, a parent in the Algonquin-based Community School District 300, said during Tuesday’s school board meeting that she loves the district’s dual-language program and the tremendous effect the program has had in her three children’s hearts.
Therefore, she was sad to hear that there have been talks to restructure the schools with dual-language offerings, which could limit students’ accessibility to such programs.
“This program matters and it should not be executed with short-term vision,” Davis said. “You need to think about the long-term vision and the effect kids will have when they go out in the world.”
Davis was one of dozens of concerned parents – and one of 26 scheduled public speakers – that helped the District 300 boardroom reach maximum capacity Tuesday to speak in favor of the dual-language program as is.
Last month, a number of transitions were introduced to the district’s dual-language offerings that were aimed to spur more student participation, centralize and improve instructional support and provide opportunities for teacher collaboration.
Changes included the transition of programs from Parkview Elementary to Lakewood Elementary; the requirement of all students entering kindergarten and participating in the dual-language program to attend Golfview Elementary, Lakewood Elementary or Meadowvale Elementary; and the requirement of all sixth grade dual-language students to attend Carpentersville Middle School.
The restructuring the of dual-language schools would leave the district without any dual-language locations west of the Fox River, which left many parents concerned about accessibility.
Jennesa Gover of West Dundee began the public participation portion of the meeting with a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the concerns of the parents in attendance, such as the social and emotional welfare of students and potential scheduling conflicts for families living farther away from dual-language schools.
District 300 parent Lauren Mosher brought her 5-year-old daughter, Katherine, to the lectern and said she absolutely loves the program but the proposed locations of dual-language schools could discourage families from participating depending on where they live in the district.
“[Dual-language] is worth every ounce that all these people put into it,” Mosher said.
District 300 board president Anne Miller said with the expected growth of the district, the board will be looking at a lot of possible program and boundary changes.
But in the case of the dual-language program, Miller said it is important to understand the parents’ concerns. Therefore, Miller suggested that District 300 Superintendent Fred Heid, evaluate the dual-language programs – particularly at Liberty Elementary School in Carpentersville – to see if there are any modifications to the district’s proposal or any changes to timeline that could be accomplished.
Steve Fiorentino, vice president of the District 300 school board, said he has read every message he has received on the subject and feels a majority of the concerns can and will be addressed.
“These decisions are never entered into lightly,” Fiorentino said. “Unfortunately, this issue involves more complexity than one program or one school community.”
Marlene Munoz, a District 300 language coach, said there is a difference between a school having dual-language classes and dual-language students learning in dual-language schools.
The district’s dual-language schools celebrate being not only bilingual but bicultural and offer students a chance to be global citizens.