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Parents donate for Spanish immersion


When the school board first approved the expansion of the Spanish language immersion program in February, it had the understanding that parents would help support the program's startup costs. Parents have so far contributed $10,000 in pledges - $5,000 of which was collected at a Mexican fiesta hosted by immersion advocate Sarah Howell at her home earlier this month.Spanish immersion kindergarten teacher Raquel Vasquez, who organized a Cinco de Mayo celebration, poses with student Emma Carnese.

Howell has been advocating for immersion in Lake Oswego schools since 2008, when her oldest son was only 2 years old. Next year he will be a student in the first grade class. Howell has two other children who she hopes to put through the program.

Kindergartener Mariano Merlo Flores (center) presses tortillas during the Cinco de Mayo festivities. Next year, first- and second-graders will be able to benefit from educational activities, as well.Support of the program has been overwhelming in recent months. 'We've always had this core group of parents,' said Howell.

But then in May, the board agreed that it will pursue a full K-5 immersion program, intending to add a grade level each year. The response from parents surprised some when 89 applied for 56 spots in the first and second grades.Kindergartener Daniel Shin flattens his tortilla, getting it ready to put in the press. The culture of Spanish-speaking people is incorporated into language immersion lessons.

This fall, Lake Grove Elementary School will host a kindergarten, first grade and second grade immersion class.