We learned a lot from researching and speaking with Fabrice Jaumont, the Educational Attaché for the French Embassy. The most challenging part of the entire process to opening up any dual-language program is finding the right school to partner with. There are a few non-negotiable criteria that we used in our process of partnering with PS 147.
1) We needed to find an under-utilized school that has the space and capacity to grow a dual-language program from K-5. This means that the school needs to be under-enrolled, with available classrooms to allocate for the entire program.
Many parents want to know why we did not approach PS 84, PS 110, or PS 414 Brooklyn Arbor and the main reason is that these schools are not considered under-utilized or under-enrolled. Also, all three of these schools already have a dual-language program in place.
2) We needed to find a visionary administrator who is open to the idea of a dual-language program, and embraces the idea of bringing in a new cohort of families that are not currently a part of the existing community. In researching the history of PS 84 and PS 110, we have learned that there needs to be the right “fit” for the native families and the non-native speaking families. The French DLP was originally slated to take place in PS 84 but in the end, PS 84 felt that a Spanish DLP would fit their existing community and families better, so the French program had to scramble to find another site.
3) We wanted to find a school that we would feel proud to send our children to. We researched and reached out to half the elementary schools in D14. After determining the school’s capacity to grow and the administration’s interest, we narrowed our search down to 5 schools. We then visited all five sites and spoke to the administration at all five schools: PS 257, PS 196, PS 250, PS 18, and PS 147. In our search, we felt that both PS 196 and PS 147 were both excellent potential school sites. After revisiting both schools three times each, we unanimously agreed that PS 147 is the ideal site for our partnership.