BSD Spanish Immersion Program Contends for Cash Award

Students in Bremerton School District’s Spanish Immersion Program are featured in a video on the Spanish television station Vme. The program is in the running for a cash award of up to $5,000 from the station, which is hosting the national contest for elementary schools that offer Spanish instruction.

Online voting ends at 8:59 p.m. Sunday, according to Kami Cottrell, one of seven teachers in the program.

BSD’s Spanish Immersion Program, established in 2007, includes 160 students in grades K-3 at Naval Avenue and grades 4-5 at Kitsap Lake elementary schools. Students are taught all subjects exclusively in Spanish. These are not children whose primary language is Spanish. Their parents have chosen the program to give them an early introduction to a foreign language. Some families in which Spanish has been the primary language want their children to maintain ties to their culture.

The high quality video, by teacher Ivelis Botti, features photos and video of the students set to a salsa beat. One segment shows the kids dancing to Latin music. In another segment, the students explain in Spanish that they would use the money for Spanish books for the school’s library. Pointing to the small collection, they say, “En nuestra biblioteca tenemos muy pocos libros en enspañol y ya los hemos liedo todos!” If my rusty Spanish serves me, that means, “Our library has few books in Spanish, and we’ve read them all.” The books would be available to all students at the schools, not only for those whose parents have placed their children in the Spanish Immersion classrooms.

The three schools that get the first, second and third most votes will get $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000. On Thursday, the Bremerton program was in third place with 3,996 votes. Cottrell is hoping for the whole enchilada.

To vote, visit Vme’s website, see or search for Libros para mi Escuelita (Books for my School) and click on the “vote button. Find Bremerton’s video labeled as “Naval Avenue.”

Buen suerte niños!

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