Wanted: bilingual aides, phonics training

Orange Unified seeks $ 350,000 federal grant

Orange Unified schools need more bilingual aides for the district’s English-immersion program, according to a report presented at the Nov. 6 board meeting.

Neil McKinnon, assistant superintendent of educational services, said the district needs about 10 more bilingual aides and increased training for teachers in phonics instruction over the next several years.

“It’s not a high number but it makes a big difference,” he said.

He added the district has completed the requirements of the state waiver which allowed the district to replace bilingual education.

The district has hired six new English Language Developmentvelopment teachers to help meet its “ambitious” plan, McKinnon added.

McKinnon also said the district plans to apply for a federal Title VII grant to meet the needs of those schools which do not qualify for Title I funding for low-income students, but which have a high percentage of limited English-proficient students.

The grant could give the district up to $ 350,000 over a four-year period for bilingual aides and training programs.

Superintendent Robert French said the district is considering going to the state board of education in May to request a two-year waiver to continue the English-immersion program.

In other action, the board unanimously approved spending $ 239,792 for repairs and playground equipment at McPherson Magnet School.

According to board member Bob Viviano, Orange city officials have agreed reimburse the district for the playground equipment under the joint-use agreement that allows the city to transform the school’s 18-acre field site into a youth sports facility.

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