Last Saturday I joined colleagues and students recruiting door-to-door. I’d say that 50% of the people who were actually home were familiar with STRIVE and interested in our new elementary. I noticed a few trends among the hesitant.
Lost in translation
We happened upon a Vietnamese family Saturday. An eight year old girl answered the door and blurted out, “I’m the translator because I’m the only one in my family who speaks English.” She obliged us by calling her mom over (who did in fact speak a few words). It was apparent though that most questions were lost in translation. A majority of families in our neighborhood speak English as a second language or do not speak English at all. Spanish is dominant. Our middle school students love going recruiting with us, and I am extremely grateful as my Spanish speaking skills are minimal. When we encounter a language other than Spanish, we’re at a loss. Note to self for next year: print flyers in all the official DPS languages.
This fall we’re beginning with Kinder and 1st. Studies show that building grade levels gradually is the strongest start model. The problem is that many families with a child in those respective grades also have child in ECE (preschool). Mom isn’t thrilled about the commute between two campuses.
Shuffling between two locations and engaging multiple school committees is a legitimate concern. However, ECE is a short season. Considering the long term is equally if not more important than enrollment over the next couple of years. Where does a child stand academically after attending 6+ years at an underperforming district school? Last fall my incoming 6th graders came to me reading on average two-three years below grade level. Is the shorter commute truly worth it?