Charter, district schools team up to offer dual-immersion ‘unconference’
LA School Report | March 10, 2016
The principals of a charter and a district elementary school that share a Baldwin Village location have teamed up to bring dual-language educators together this weekend to learn from each other and share best practices, strategies and resources.
About 60 educators from the LA area have signed up to attend Saturday’s free half-day “unconference,” in which participants that day collectively choose the main topics to be discussed. Dual Language Los Angeles will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hillcrest Elementary School, an LA neighborhood school in Baldwin Village in South Los Angeles that also is home to City Language Immersion Charter (CLIC), a 3-year-old public charter school founded by parents from West Adams.
“The principals made this happen,” said Valerie Braimah, executive director of City Charter Schools, which runs CLIC plus a middle and high school. “They were discussing how to collaborate on professional development and came up with the idea together.”
The event is a unique charter and district collaboration, Braimah said. “There is so much conflict between charters and the district, but I see a lot of ways in which, on a person-to-person level, those tensions are overcome for the greater good.”
Another motivation, she said, was “because dual-immersion programs are so dispersed geographically. This is the first time we have ever done anything like this. There are state and national bilingual language conferences, but we haven’t seen a lot of opportunities locally.”
Although the principals of CLIC, Raul Alarcon, and Hillcrest, Anthony Jackson, already provide professional development to their teachers separately, they saw their co-location as an opportunity to solve problems and serve teachers together.
“I hope that this type of collective learning and leadership can be a model for the district,” Alarcon stated in a news release. “We hope to show what happens when we work together to solve common challenges with the goal of better serving all of our students.”
Jackson added, “Our reciprocal model of collaboration and partnership just makes sense. We both offer dual-language immersion programs. We both share the school’s location. It makes sense to grow our knowledge and that of visiting educators, and practice together to benefit our scholars and their families.”
The half-day unconference is still registering participants at dualla.weebly.com. Walk-ins are welcome. For more information, contact Raul Alarcon, firstname.lastname@example.org, (323) 294-4937, or Anthony Jackson, email@example.com, (323) 296-6867.