|Updated: 8/21/2012 8:46 am
||Published: 8/20/2012 9:03 pm
It’s back to school for thousands of students in Tulsa Public Schools.
Perhaps the biggest lesson learned: the importance of a global economy, especially in an election year, when many are concerned about jobs.
Project Schoolhouse closed schools across the city. Many of them sat in north Tulsa, an area predominately filled with African Americans.
Monroe Demonstration School principal Peggy Moss said the school’s dual immersion program became a way to give back.
"We started last year and there wasn't much time to prepare," said Moss.
Moss helped launch Monroe's dual immersion program. She said the program starts in Pre-K. Students speak English half the time, and the other half they speak Spanish. A balance of both is required.
"Balancing out the two populations has been more of a challenge," said Moss.
"I love it,” said parent, Tiffany Smith. “Everywhere I go my daughter is speaking Spanish."
Smith enrolled her daughter, Serenity, in the program last year.
"They tell you some of the stuff in English, so you will know," said Serenity.
Minorities make up more than half of TPS’s enrollment. One in four students speaks a second language. Some say when it comes to a global economy, our country is behind.
"Having a bilingual skill set is critical to being part of tomorrow's workforce as well as today's," said Denise Reid with the Tulsa Metro Chamber.
Reid said people who have the skill-set can demand more money. Two years into Monroe’s program, money is still a problem.
"It’s twice as expensive if you can imagine, for the curriculum," said Moss.
For every Spanish textbook, there's one in English.
One of the problems: finding qualified teachers. Monroe has six teachers in the immersion program. 91 students participate in it.