Violet is starting dual language kindergarten this fall! This is the culmination of three years of hard work and, while it didn’t turn out exactly how I’d hoped, I am SO excited. And terrified. And relieved. And… well… let’s just say there is a lot to think about.
Here’s our journey in a nutshell:
We moved to Austin after teaching English in Korea for 3 years. I got into the Foreign Language Education Master’s program at UT. After Violet was born I wondered what dual language program she would attend, only to realize thatthere isn’t one here.
So I started my own website to to to mobilize like-minded locals. Then I joined forces with Austin Community School, a proposed dual language charter, and eventually became board secretary. This was the only DL game in town. What happened for the next 3 years was a lesson in how ridiculous, frustrating, and scary bureaucracy and educational politics can be, especially in Texas. Add this to the usual strains of recruiting and working with volunteers in the world of non-profits and the result is a lot of work for not a lot of reward.
So ACS is not open… yet. But what about Violet and Graham? The way dual language education works is that kids start in kinder or 1st grade and stick with the program for at least 5 years. If Violet misses that window she’s out of luck.
Thankfully a new superintendent swept into Austin, turning the district’s long held belief about bilingual education on its head. ACS joined in the effort to get a DL program started in AISD. Their board eventually voted to start 4 pilot programs this fall.
They held a lottery for the limited number of slots, and we won a spot! Unfortunately, the program isn’t in our neighborhood school. But it is in a school close to Rob’s work. He’ll drop Violet off every morning.
So this is the end of the beginning. Now we see exactly what we’ve gotten ourselves into. I have ridiculous amounts to say on the subject. And you know what that means… a New Blog! Yes, I’ll be pontificating about dual language immersion and our journey towards becoming a bilingual family.