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Chula Vista Parents Wait Overnight For Dual-Immersion Enrollment

Aired 3/1/12 on KPBS News.

Popular dual-immersion program draws parents to overnight line ahead of Kindergarten registration.

Today was the first day of kindergarten registration for Chula Vista Elementary schools. Some parents waited in line outside, overnight to make sure their children got into one popular program.

Salt Creek Elementary School in eastern Chula Vista is a high performing school. Test scores regularly exceed state targets. But the parents waiting in line to snap up the first open spots in the school’s Kindergarten classes next fall were mostly there to make sure those spots were in one of the three dual-language classrooms where children are taught in both English and Spanish.

The overnight lineup has become something of an annual tradition, according to Principal Daniel Winters.

“When the school first opened we had a dual immersion program with just one class per grade level," he said. "That was increased to two classes per grade level and even at that we ended up having a waiting list year after year.”

Winters said the school hasn’t had to wait list families since increasing to three dual-immersion classrooms two years ago, but some parents just don't want to leave anything to chance. Families outside the Salt Creek attendance boundaries are still out of luck though.

“We get, I would say, approximately 100 zone transfer requests of families outside of our area to get into the dual immersion program every year," Winters said. "And we rarely can accept any of those because we’re full just with our Salt Creek families.”

Winters said he sees demand for dual-immersion programs growing in Chula Vista and across the county. Ten schools in the Chula Vista Elementary district offer dual-immersion programs.

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