Our purpose, in partnership with families and our community, is to provide rich educational opportunities with high expectations for every child in a safe and nurturing environment that fosters critical thinking, celebrates diversity and promotes lifelong learning and social responsibility.
Portland Public Schools
Immersion Program Information
Portland Public Schools has several Language immersion programs:
Project Goals and plan of action
Through helping in the Russian immersion program we hope to:
Highlights of existing culturally specific problems
In helping with this program and trying to get the program to expand we faced problems due to:
- The clash of Russian and American cultures causes conflicts.
- Russians tend to be a more closed off community.
- A large majority of the program’s Russian speakers are from the Orthodox Christian faith, who are refugees in the US. Their life tends to revolve around the church. Many parents do not get involved with their child’s education.
- Many parents from this program did not attend college and might not find it a necessity. It is difficult to go against the wishes of your parents.
- Though half the class is Russian and half is American, the exposure is not equal. American students only get the opportunity to practice their Russian in class and speak English everywhere else, while Russian speakers have the chance to speak Russian in class and at home and English at school and with their friends.
Underlying social context
A big part of the problem is the remaining influence of the Soviet Union. Russians, particularly those who grew up in the soviet era, tend to believe that schooling is the responsibility of the child and the school. In result they do not take initiative, join boards, or participate in their child’s education.
Another large cultural problem is that many are Orthodox Christian (Староверцы) and their lives revolve around the church. Russians in general have close knit communities, but the Orthodox Christian one is particularly close knit. The results is that if one leaves, others will follow.
The final problem is American students have less exposure to the Russian language. The Russian students speak Russian at school and at home and therefore get a lot of practice. Americans only get to speak Russian at school. This shows in their ability to speak Russian. in effect they often find it difficult to keep up with the material.
goals in action
- We will conduct a survey about reasons for not continuing the program and what it would take to get families more involved.
- We will attempt to organize more publicity for the program (web page, fliers, Facebook)
- We will try to organize events and resources that fix the existing problems.
Working in this program has been a rewarding experience. We got to experience working in a classroom as well as test our knowledge from school in both the Russian language and history. We got to work with the students, which was at time a frustrating by rewarding experience. We hope to continue to help and forward this program and hopefully get the program to spread to other schools and cities. Maria will try and get the program going more and to help more with the administrative parts of the program. Tatiana will continue to help in the classroom and plan more projects and presentations for the classes.