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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Creating Social Change Through a Two-way Immersion Program: La Escuelita's Efforts to Foster Spanish/English Bilingualism


A substantial academic literature suggests that public schools are failing to provide an effective educational program for language minority students. This paper presents an ethnographic study of an independent charter school, “La Escuelita,” which was built by educators and community members who sought alternative educational resources and programs for their Latino children. This study demonstrates how communities as a whole can use schools as foundations upon which to create meaningful social change. By using a Two-Way (Dual Language) Immersion program, which fosters and maintains students’ native languages while teaching students English, the school encouraged student and parent participation in cultural and political events that empowered the entire community and made learning a social activity.

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