Orange district's plan in place if English-only plan gets OK

ORANGE, CA—Some $ 200,000 and about six months will be needed to fully implement a transition from bilingual instruction to an English-only approach in the Orange Unified School District.

Whether Orange officials will have that opportunity might be determined today in Sacramento, where the State Board of Education will consider the district’s request for a two-year waiver of the state’s bilingual requirements.

The board might delay that decision for another month, but administrators in the Orange district have been preparing the new program in the event state approval comes through.

Highlights of the Orange program, according to Assistant superintendent Neil McKinnon:

At its most elemental level, the program stresses some of the basic techniques of encouraging students to participate _ lots of gestures, much prompting and other methods of including reticent kids in the classroom mix. More emphasis will be placed on realia, or three-dimensional objects used to illustrate a lesson.

Each teacher will have access to a bilingual aide who will conduct preview only lessons. If the lesson is the solar system, for example, the aide would conduct a brief preview of vocabulary terms about space and the planets and other aspects of the material.

After the actual lesson, the aide would then review the subject matter and answer questions.

Atleast one hour of English-language instruction each day.

A series of additional programs after school and during school vacations for students and parents, intended to advance English skills and preserve those skills previously learned. “We find the retention is a lot greater when those programs are utilized,” McKinnon said.



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