On November 15, 2017, Dr. Manno presented the BCSD community with a report on the current ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) programs in the District, as well as the Administration's recommendations on how best to move forward. To help the community understand these programs and recommendations, we are offering an overview of the information provided, as well as some background.

Let's start first with some clarification on three of the most frequently asked questions we've heard:

FAQ #1:  What is the DLBE program everyone is talking about at MKES?
DLBE (Dual Language Bilingual Education) is the instructional model used at MKES to provide ESOL instruction to ELLs (English Language Learners) as well as to provide Spanish language instruction to native English speakers. "Dual language" refers to learning simultaneously in two different languages. Native speakers of each language learn side-by-side so that both groups serve as language models at different times. The program begins in first grade, and approximately 85% of students in grades 1-4 at MKES have chosen to participate in the DLBE program. (The program began in September 2014, so the oldest students in DLBE are currently in 4th grade.) The students in grades 1-4 that choose not to participate in DLBE are placed in a Traditional classroom with English-only instruction. Currently, students in the Traditional program average only 13 students/grade level and will stay together in the same class from grades 1-5.
For more information about the ESOL programs and ELLs in the District, please check this out: ESOL Programs in the BCSD

FAQ #2:  Why is the District talking about opening up the DLBE program at MKES to other students in the BCSD?
One of the 2 alternatives that Dr. Manno presented on November 15th was to create a "DLBE School of Choice" at MKES, giving other students from around the district the opportunity to participate in DLBE. In a recent District survey of families with current Kindergarten students, there was notable interest in participating in the DLBE program from outside of MKES. In a School of Choice scenario, MKES-zoned students would have first access to the program, and then other interested elementary families in the District could apply for any open spots. While creating a School of Choice would allow students from around the District to participate in this model of learning, it would also allow MKES students in the Traditional (English-only) program to have a more typical classroom experience in another elementary school. Not only are the students in the Traditional program "tracked" with the same small number of peers for 5 years, adjustments also cannot be made to the class to account for gender, learning differences, social conflicts or any other situation that would typically be taken into account when creating a class.
For more details regarding the DLBE program and potential changes, please click here: DLBE Details

FAQ #3:  My kids go to WPES, and the rumor is that a bunch of MKES students might switch to WPES next year. I also heard that the District is taking away the neighborhood elementary schools. What is going on?
If the District decides to create a School of Choice, MKES students who are currently in the "Traditional" (English-only) program would switch to another elementary school. Currently, that only averages 13 students per grade level. Per District research, WPES is the most logical school for the Traditional classroom students to attend: their classrooms are currently under-utilized and their average class sizes are smaller than every other elementary school in the District. District class-size guidelines would still need to be met, and Dr. Manno's presentation stated that enrollment trends would need to be closely monitored - if enrollment in the Traditional sections grew significantly, the sections may be moved back to MKES. The only other students who could potentially switch schools would be students from other elementary schools who chose to opt-in to the DLBE program at MKES.
For the vast majority of students, nothing would change.
For the details on Dr. Manno's recommendations, please take a look at this: DLBE Program Recommendations