With kids falling behind, school district to revamp Dual Immersion program | Town Square | Mountain View Online |

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With kids falling behind, school district to revamp Dual Immersion program

Original post made on Mar 21, 2019

Despite Mistral Elementary's promise of dual literacy, some of its most vulnerable students are struggling to learn English and meet state academic standards. School district leaders say that needs to change.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 21, 2019, 11:48 AM

Comments (17)

66 people like this
Posted by Lack of Leadership
a resident of Gemello
on Mar 21, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Once again, Rudolph shows his complete lack of leadership skills. Will he ever learn to involve the community at an appropriate time?

Teach to One. Cooper Park. Removal of principals. Budget crisis. Dual Immersion. What's next?

It has been clear that this was direction in which the district was heading since Mistral's principal was removed last year. Why not begin outreach to parents at that time?

47 people like this
Posted by confused
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 21, 2019 at 12:34 pm

So first bring former colleagues as leaders to make things work and that didn't work, so now changing the whole format of the program without parental buy-in?!! Very authoritarian style. I guess that is aligned with how the whole country is being treated.

59 people like this
Posted by Enrique Munoz Torres
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2019 at 12:41 pm

The commitment that Dr. Rudolph made, in writing, on Sept. 21, 2018 was:
"For the Mistral Dual Immersion Advisory Committee, there will be opportunities for parents to hear updates on progress, to discuss the vision of the program and to provide feedback on staff’s recommendation. These dates will be determined and communicated to parents.""

Unfortunately, as stated in the article, Dr. Rudolph deliberately chose not to involve parents in the process.

15 people like this
Posted by Paul
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 21, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Data to show problems like this don’t happen overnight. It looks like this article validates the decision to remove the Mistral Principal last year.

61 people like this
Posted by Do better, Dr. Rudolph
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2019 at 1:51 pm

I find Dr. Rudolph's tone to be unnecessarily inflammatory and quite the opposite of stated goals of bringing the school together. Saying in a public forum that English students are succeeding "on the backs of" Spanish speaking students is a great way to divide the community. Bravo.

As a Mistral parent, I'm constantly impressed by the school and by the genuine engagement between the language communities. Every parent I know recognizes that the school only works when the students learn from one another and form bonds that cross language. I'm an English speaking parent open to the idea of a 50/50 model and willing to listen but his high-handed, inflammatory statements are not helping one bit.

81 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 21, 2019 at 2:52 pm

This is such a shame. There are so many amazing success stories that have come out of the Dual Immersion Program for it to be punished by the low end non-achievers. The real problem is so many Hispanic parents do not seem to be placing a high value on supporting their children in school. It always goes back to the parents and the case is no different with Mistral. So once again, the entire community must suffer with a weakened program while the district caters to the far low end of the student population. Congratulations Mr. Rudolph and the Board in making such incredible gains in the race to the bottom! Perhaps if Mr. Rudolph spoke another language we would understand things better. And yes I agree this community is sick and tired of being lied to.

19 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 21, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Dear Mistral parents, @do better & Torres,

Dr. Rudolph has a real problem, as do many education administrators, in many districts, of realizing COMMUNICATIONS is 2-way. Not just 'from on high' (that is from him or newsletters TO parents or from principals TO parents). You really need to continually fight - to sometimes 'just be recognized and heard'. {I do not subscribe to the pull of "the current mob" however - "representative democracy" it maters who the community VOTES into office. Parents, even the loudest do not choose the School Board or make their own Public Policy).

Rudolph is trying hard to bring Equity of Opportunity to our community. Sometimes - like his Teach 2 One:Math fiasco, or his Cooper Park teacher housing trip-and-fall, he initiatives it entirely on his own! Or gets abetted by the Board (my bad - didn't vet his TTO:Math 'plan' deeply enough) or he publicly quashes individual Bd. Member inquiry (happened to me twice).

DI had a problem. Rudolph is concerned. His Board may just be 'following him around' (even across the country to North Carolina's DI Mecca? !!! :). That was your tax dollars - the loss of dollars to the GENERAL FUND.

So - continue speaking up. It's democracy in action. You can never be silent - or it ceases to be a working democracy.
Peace and Love

BTW the Superintendent's new contract is up TONIGHT. By 5:30 PM sharp - you can comment directly to Bd.
(or write Trustees@mvwsd.org ASAP)

44 people like this
Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 21, 2019 at 2:58 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Has anyone noticed that every few years, when the "achievement gap" continues to widen despite fancy programs, the school board panics and switches from one remedial plan to another, only to have it fail, too? They must believe in the old politicians' motto --- "Do something, anything!" when publicly confronted with an impossible situation. In other words, give the appearance of change to avoid criticism. The members of the school board are asking the wrong questions instead of (or to avoid?) asking the right ones: "WHY is there an "achievement gap", and "To what extent are students families responsible?" and "How can we possibly improve the negative effects of ignorant and/or disfunctional families"? Teachers used to say (my mother and sister were teachers), in private anyway, "It all begins and ends at home". Is that now taboo to utter out loud?

6 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 21, 2019 at 3:09 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Dear Mary - spoken like a true 'ignorant of the realities of poor-working-folk' blossom. Sorry - even this registered Republican does not buy what you are selling. Please read the history of the gringo lies that happened during the decades after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago. The "White Man's Burden" may not be quite what you think.

Web Link

19 people like this
Posted by OMV Mistral Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 21, 2019 at 4:02 pm

OMV Mistral Parent is a registered user.

I hope that even people who might think like Mary realize that without those Hispanic families and their children, the Dual Immersion program and school would not (will not) exist. Hispanic families are already "voting with their feet" and leaving the program. They also choose not to send their children to the DI program because of the reclassification issues. While there is always a wait list for students who don't speak Spanish, there is never a wait list for students who do. And yet in order to thrive, the best DI programs need a healthy population of native Spanish speaking students. Sorry folks. You can't hoard opportunities in MVWSD without being forced to do a little social justice on the way. I would also like to say to the general reader that in my experience, people with opinions like Mary's aren't as visible in the Mistral community as they make themselves in the comments of the MVV.

44 people like this
Posted by Enrique Munoz Torres
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Enrique Munoz Torres is a registered user.

Unfortunately, this has been framed as a feud between the parents of Spanish and English learners when that's far from being the case. Having both communities is the essence of what makes Mistral a unique school and it would be very unfortunate if the changes or the discussion around them alienated either community. Specifically on Spanish learners, while it's naïve to pretend that there are no societal differences between both demographics, suggesting that "many Hispanic parents do not seem to be placing a high value on supporting their children in school" is not only insulting but factually untrue.

Simply put, many of us are unhappy because:
1.- Dr. Rudolph didn't deliver on his promise to involve the community.
2.- While we acknowledge that there is a big problem that absolutely needs to be addressed when it comes to the underperformance of Spanish learners, there is not an iota of evidence to suggest that this change will fix it. In fact, given that Spanish learners underperform English learners in written Spanish, there is reason to believe that additional instruction in English will not bridge the English performance gap.
3.- Of the stark difference between their celerity when it comes to making this change and the glacial pace at which they're making progress on expanding Spanish immersion to middle school.

31 people like this
Posted by OneMoreTime
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 21, 2019 at 7:18 pm

OneMoreTime is a registered user.

Rudolph's strategic plan is full of promises about collective decision making and the importance of engaging all stakeholders, but this is another example of the the district taking active steps to box parents out. They hypocrisy is concerning.

The middle school schedule task force also did not have parent representatives. In fact, the task force members were told in the winter of 2016 that the committee was put on hold and would reconvene in the fall of 2017 because the district needed to recruit parents and students to participate. When the committee reconvened in the fall of 2017, not one parent or student was on the committee and no explanation was provided.

The School Board accepts what Rudolph tells them hook, line, and sinker. It's like he is their boss and he tells them what to think and do. I'm pretty sure it is supposed to be the other way around.

3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 21, 2019 at 7:57 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

I cannot condone some of the COMMUNICATIONS (2-way) failures of the MVWSD organization. During my term, or in the last 2 years. It is extremely clear however - it is the Board majority that is responsible for this failure (if you consider it a failure). The Board has the power - clear in state Ed Code - to take back ANY POWER IT HAS PREVIOUSLY DELEGATED to the Superintendent. It is an absolute power - it can be exercised by a majority vote (3).

The President of the Board (now Wilson) also has the absolute power, by herself, to call a Board Special Meeting with any Agenda(s) she chooses.

That is why I categorically rejected the California School Board Association's "it's a TEAM" dogma. So - just who is the Coach, who is the General Manager, the Owner or Owner's representatives? Some of the Trustees, insist that you Must Be A TEAM player. Is it Dr. Rudolph's team?

In the US of A. How much of "An Imperial Presidency" do we have? How much is "good" or "healthy" for the country? What if you are in the federal government, and do not want to Play on Trump's TEAM?

16 people like this
Posted by An Interested Observer
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2019 at 2:28 am

An Interested Observer is a registered user.

This is not new information or data about the Dual Immersion Program. The non-Spanish speaking students always did better than the native Spanish speaking students. Yet, the program continued ..... following the same model! WHY???

10 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 22, 2019 at 8:35 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

Too much was expected of full immersion, the reason some global private schools do full immersion is that it's very effective to get non-speakers to speak a foreign language, so it always worked well for non-native Spanish speakers. A program that does that one goal alone is already quite an achievement. It was always over promising by saying that full immersion can also bridge the achievement gap for non-English speakers, a very different goal.

The 50/50 is the right call if the achievement gap is the focus, and for non-Spanish speakers, there's a good track record for 50/50 in both private and public schools around the country. Made all the better if they expand Spanish to near 50/50 in the middle schools, though it looks like the district will just offer advanced Spanish in middle school.

People started hearing district talk of this change during the last principal's departure last year. The non-public process the district used was inadequate at best and at worse seems like window dressing an internal decision made long ago, but overall this shift should work out well for all children in the end, and it carries out the worthy goal that every school site in the district is inviting and successful to a diverse range of families.

I will speak controversially, that, the district's other choice site, Stevenson, a wonderful progressive program, should also make a shift, from expecting parents to volunteer, to highly welcome parents to volunteer and drop parent participation as its driving message to prospective families, that subtle shift would make that school more inclusive to working parents, without sacrificing the beautiful parent participation that makes that progressive model thrive. Both choice programs were founded in a different time, and are choices worth protecting, but the way we look at inclusion has progressed.

1 person likes this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 24, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@Christopher Chaing speaks from actual experience as a professional educator / in several different capacities. [although elementary Dual (language) Immersion is not particularly one of them ]

The third paragraph of his posting - I think highlights the continuing Communication process (2-Way) problem the MVWSD has had over the last decade. Chris and I, as Governing Board Members (along with Phil Palmer) refused to allow the District Office/administrators to go ahead with splitting Castro - until there was more parent participation in the process. A "direction to the staff" informal straw vote! (3:2) (Trustee Ellen Wheeler, IMO as usual, wanted to just go along with staff recommendation)

I happen to also like Chiang's paragraph 4 recommendation on Stevenson / PACT. That site and that separate "Stevenson Foundation" (a non-PTA California non-profit corporation) has been a legal-compliance issue in the past - even through the middle of my term on the Board. Chiang's recommendation - can be added to the official AGENDA of the Bd. / by any public member Written Request to the Board (President). It needs to have detail, and it needs to indicate "Discussion" or "Discussion and Action" (which needs specific wording for a Board Policy).

17 people like this
Posted by EponymousCA
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2019 at 7:12 pm

EponymousCA is a registered user.

The superintendent could have done better than defend the decision to exclude parents from discussions of the school's teaching model with spurious hypothetical commentary about how the parents would have been intolerant of an honest look at how teachers were struggling with their educational mission. Many parents are more understanding and compassionate than he realizes.

As everyone casts stones at Rudolph, we shouldn't ignore the white elephant (with red hair) in the room who turned the school changes into a divisive issue pitting staff against parents and Spanish-speakers against Anglophones. I thought the new principal was supposed to build an inclusive community, not Balkanize the school. When is her term going to expire?

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