The proposed plan also differs from the one passed in September 2018 because it keeps the traditional track in place.
“Your child can still start learning Mandarin at a young age, but not necessarily be immersed in it for academic subjects,” O’Donovan said.
Traditional track students will take Mandarin as their foreign language instead of French and will start this in kindergarten.
O'Donovan said with the current complete Mandarin immersion program, new students cannot enter the program above the first grade unless they express proficiency in the language. The newly proposed plan would allow the school to accept new students at any grade level.
O'Donovan also said the Mandarin language program has enrollment gaps when compared to district demographics, so there were concerns that expanding the program would create enrollment gaps at Glenwood as a whole. To increase diversity in the program, they will add more weight in the lottery to students from neighborhood segments with a higher poverty rate.
“Dual language programming is one research-based way to close the achievement gap in an enriched educational model, but that doesn’t mean anything if we don’t have the underrepresented students in the program,” O’Donovan said.
Teachers will be trained to follow equitable practices, and additional supports and resources will be put in place to help students understand material. Faculty and peer collaboration between both tracks will also be prioritized with the goal of fostering unity at Glenwood.
The board will vote on this plan on June 5.
School board vacancy
In addition to the Mandarin program, the board decided to communicate with former school board members to try and fill the vacant seat. However, if this doesn't work and an application process ends up being required, the board will vote May 2, 2019.
“We are talking to former board members to see if they are interested, and then the second process if no former board members are interested in being on the board, we will have an application process,” said Joal Broun, chairperson of the school board.
Next year's budget
The school board also formally requested $5,530,872 for its total budget for the upcoming year. Only $1,932,000 will be used for expansion requests, which are new projects, centering focus on eliminating the achievement gap. The rest of the money will be used to continue current projects.
An expansion request has been made for $450,000 to improve maternity and paternity leave in an effort to maintain and recruit high-quality teachers.
“Our teaching population as a whole in North Carolina is aging, and you have less people going into teaching than you did before, which makes it more difficult to retain teachers, so this is just one part teacher retention,” Broun said.
Another way the district is going to work toward promoting equity is by collaborating with Orange County Schools and sharing ideas of how to best achieve equity. In the past, CHCCS has never formalized this collaborative relationship.
“When we join together with Orange County, we can share what is working and what is not working. It always helps to have a different view of what people are doing and what kind of things they are doing,” Broun said.