Noah Siegler 0

Every Voice Matters: Keep Kipp Austin Bilingual

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At Obras, we have worked hard to create a community where all stakeholders have a voice. Teachers made significant changes to our curriculum when they advocated for reading workshop. Parents helped shape the level of communication around student growth and assessments. Students recognized that they didn’t have a library and proceeded to raise more than thirty thousand dollars to purchase books. Literally hundreds of people in the Obras community have contributed to our school because they were given a platform to participate.

In the past, our region has valued this active participation. When KIPP Austin focused on math and writing curriculum, teachers were able to interact with materials months before a curriculum was chosen. They were allowed an opportunity to give feedback and feel a sense of ownership. With that transparent process—a process that led to high teacher investment—we were able to help our schools become more successful. With the proposed changes to the language model, however, the region's approach has been dramatically different. Instead of giving the model more attention and resources, and instead of promoting transparency and a sense of ownership, the administration has chosen to abruptly shift away from the model entirely.

We understand that our schools have not produced the desired student results. However, we feel that we have not had enough money, training, resources, and time to achieve the growth the district is demanding. The majority of our teachers have received zero hours of regional professional development devoted to the dual language model.

We have grave concerns that the region's speed in making this large decision—without thinking through the consequences of staffing and culture—will have long-lasting effects on a school and district that is doing so many things right.

In a world that is increasingly divided, bilingualism can help build a bridge between opposing factions. We stand by our language model, and firmly believe that it can produce students who are community leaders and college-ready.

We urge KIPP Austin to give our schools more resources and time to prove that the dual language model works.

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