DECA Petition Up For Final Approval By DUSD Board

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Submitted by Denair Unified School District

A new elementary charter school that would include Spanish instruction for all students with rigorous core subjects and exposure to fine arts tops the list of items to be considered Thursday night by the Denair Unified School District board of trustees.

The proposal calls for Denair Unified School District to form a new school known as Denair Elementary Charter Academy, or DECA, for the 2015-16 school year.

DECA’s mission, according to the proposed new charter, “is to provide students with an engaging, nurturing, equitable learning environment that promotes the development of skills necessary for the 21st century.”

One of the innovative features of the new charter school would be a dual immersion English/Spanish class for kindergarteners. The class would follow the 90% Spanish and 10% English dual immersion model, said Principal Sara Michelena. The goal is to have a 50/50 mix of English and Spanish speakers. The intent, she said, is to add a dual immersion class at successive grade levels each year as the first group of kindergartners gets older.

All other DECA students also will have regular Spanish instruction, Michelena said. In addition, the new charter school would have two 30-station computer labs to teach tech skills and would continue to focus on arts enrichment for all students. Even at the elementary level, there will be an emphasis on building a college-going culture and “assist students to become self-motivated, competent, lifelong learners.”

Parents and community members can weigh in on the new charter at Thursday night’s meeting. Trustees have until the end of April to adopt the rewritten charter petition and send it to the state, which must give final approval.

Thursday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the district’s board room at 3460 Lester Road.

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