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  1. #1
    Senior Member legalatina's Avatar
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    Sep 2007

    MN: Pandering to Mexican schoolchildren with freebies

    Grade school revamps as more Latino students arrive

    Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

    Pine Bend Elementary teacher Natasha Bade, who teaches English as a second language, worked with students during a special class to help the mostly native Spanish speakers.

    Pine Bend school in Inver Grove Heights offers special help to its Spanish-speaking students, many from a mobile home park.

    By SARAH LEMAGIE, Star Tribune

    Last update: January 19, 2008 - 11:07 PM
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    Since Roxana Segura's family moved to a mobile home park in Inver Grove Heights, she has watched the Latino population blossom at both Skyline Village and nearby Pine Bend Elementary.

    The number of children from Skyline Village attending the school has doubled in the past few years, to about 70, including many students whose families speak Spanish at home.

    "I don't think that the school was kind of prepared for all these changes," said Segura, who has two children enrolled at Pine Bend.

    In response, the school is revamping its relationship with the mobile home park. This month Principal Ruth Ann Moore plans to roll out an after-school tutoring program.

    Third- through fifth-grade students will get help with their homework in the community room at Skyline Village,. In addition, extra English lessons will be offered at Pine Bend for a half-dozen kindergarteners.

    "Slowly but surely, it's transforming our school, and we're just trying to keep up with the demands and needs of this community," Moore said.

    The programs come as welcome news to parents such as Segura, whose 6-year-old daughter, Gisselle, is struggling with the new language because of hearing problems. "I'm really glad she's going to get more English classes," said Segura, originally from Mexico.

    Those classes will extend Gisselle's half-day kindergarten program by an hour three days a week, with a free lunch, recess and a bus ride home. After-school tutoring will also help the older kids, Segura said, pointing out that many Latino parents can't help their children with homework because they don't speak English.

    The school has also recruited volunteers to spend one-on-one class time with students who are just learning the language.

    Fueled by the migration of immigrant families to the suburbs, the demographic shift at Pine Bend reflects changes in the entire school district. The percentage of minority students in Inver Grove Heights has gone from 13 percent from five years ago to 22 percent in the 2006-2007 school year.

    At Pine Bend, the number of Hispanic students -- the district's largest minority group -- has jumped from 21 in 2001 to 46 last school year. In the same period, free and reduced-price lunches increased to 115, up from 68. And the number of non-native English speakers is going up, with seven enrolling at the school in the last month alone, Moore said.

    Many students in all three categories live in Skyline Village, a community of 400 mobile homes where American flags and swing sets crowd tiny yards. The park manager estimates that a quarter of the families are Hispanic.

    The school is still adjusting to its new diversity. "So we're looking at what other schools have been doing and just trying to create our own little system," Moore said.

    At Cedar Knolls, a mobile home park in Apple Valley, about 100 students attend Cedar Park Elementary, the most culturally diverse school in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district. In the early 1990s, the school started similar tutoring and outreach programs in Cedar Knolls that have since been expanded to include all students, said Principal Marge Gruenes.

    In an effort to spread minority enrollment, the district began giving Cedar Knolls parents the option of sending their children to other elementary schools in the fall of 2006, and this fall turned Cedar Park into a magnet school.

    Moore said she hopes the new after-school program in Skyline Village, which the school is calling the Skyline Spartan Club, will build friendships among students. A previous program with about 15 students that Pine Bend started in the park three years ago -- then canceled for lack of funding -- did just that.

    "Our goal was to get those kids to feel like a cohesive group and a club, and that's what happened," she said.

    Sarah Lemagie • 952-882-9016

  2. #2
    Senior Member Skippy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Those classes will extend Gisselle's half-day kindergarten program by an hour three days a week, with a free lunch, recess and a bus ride home
    Free child care for an additional 1+ hours three days a week.

  3. #3
    Senior Member alexcastro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    My mother taught enlish as a second language TWENTY years ago! Even as a teenager, I felt that these students were receiving special treatment. Now as an adult, I am completely angered by how long this has been going on! Explain to me why we are bending over backwards for people who came into our country illegaly when american citizens are losing their homes!! Even my mother has seen the LIGHT and switched presidental parties. The climate in our country is finally changing and people are fed up and ready to stand together on this issue!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    The pathetic illegals and their spawn can go pound sand for my money. Somebody needs to tow their mobile homes back to Mexico. With the illegals locked inside.

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