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Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant 1998-2001

In 1997, Karen Kodama, then principal at TOPS K-8 school in Seattle, was asked by Superintendent John Stanford to take his vision for an international school   a place where all children would learn languages and learn about each other's cultures   and turn it into a real school. The district applied for and received a federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grant, which funded two planning years and the launch of the first international school in Seattle in 2000. The documents on this page were produced during that time and may be of interest to other communities planning a new school model.

Jump to:  Planning | Launching | Evaluating | ELLOPA | Publications

Planning the School

The Planning and Outreach committees for the school began meeting in 1999. We recorded and disseminated summaries of the meetings in order to keep the rather disparate group of teachers, professors, and community members engaged. Here are links to Meeting Notes:

Feb. 22, 1999 Meeting Notes
Mar. 15, 1999 Meeting Notes
(District commitment and Visibility)
Mar. 29, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Plans for website)
Apr. 5, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Business survey, Marketing, Outreach)
Apr. 19, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Outreach at Ethnic Heritage Council)
May 10, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Plans to meet with Marilyn Hawkins about creating school brand)
May 23, 1999 Marketing Meeting Notes
(Main marketing message and audiences)
May 24, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Communications plan and public awareness)
June 28, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Business survey results (top languages now: Spanish & Japanese; in 10 years: Mandarin; Landor Branding Consultants; Fundraising)
July 26, 1999 Committee Notes
(Brochure by Landor)
Sep. 2, 1999 PR Meeting Notes
(Website, Fundraising, PR, etc.)
Oct. 4, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Partnership Action Team)
Oct. 7, 1999 Marketing Meeting Notes
(Website topics)
Oct. 12, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Website structure)
Nov. 1, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Adoption of new Social Studies Curriculum, Fundraising, PR, etc.)
Nov. 22, 1999 Port Ludlow Retreat
(UW Partnership; School, Family, Community Partnerships; World Language Standards)
Nov. 29, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Updates, Starting Points Survey)
Nov. 30, 1999 National Standards for Foreign Language
(The 5 "C's" - Communication, Culture, Connections, Comparisons, Communities)
Dec. 6, 1999 Meeting Notes
(Culture notes, Starting Points survey)
Dec. 9, 1999 Ground Breaking Ceremony
(Highlights of the ceremony at Latona School)
Jan. 19, 2000 Marketing Meeting Notes
(Options for non-profit status)
Feb. 28, 2000 Meeting Notes
(Partnership updates; Michele's visits to DC area immersion programs)
Apr. 17, 2000 Meeting Notes
(Adoption of Tahoma Social Studies Curriculum, Report on Primary Years Program, TESOL Conference)
Apr. 17, 2000 Notes on the Primary Years Programme Planner:
(Organizing Themes and Stages of the Planner)


Launching the School

Serious preparation for launching the new school began in January, 2000.

January, 2000

The grant's language consultant made on-site visits to two elementary, dual language immersion programs in Virginia and Maryland, meeting with the principals and teachers, visiting classrooms, reviewing curriculum, and talking with their staff about the plans for John Stanford International School. We completed two reports based on questions generated by Karen and her teachers:

Decision Point:  Karen and the staff decided to implement a partial immersion model (half-day Spanish and half-day English), with separation of languages (Spanish taught by Spanish-only teacher), focusing on Math and Science as the content areas taught in Spanish.

Note: we discussed the desirability of offering a two-way dual immersion program (with 50% Spanish native speakers), but because of the District's Assignment Plan, we were not allowed to offer preferential assignment to the school to Spanish native speakers. Our hope, by co-locating the Bilingual Orientation Center (BOC) at the school, was that some native speakers from the BOC might transition into the partial immersion program when spots opened in the upper grades. And that has turned out to happen on occasion.

March - June, 2000

In March, 2000, we set up the World Languages Planning Team, including representatives from John Stanford and the University of Washington. The focus was on ensuring that the immersion program would be standards-based. In addition, we worked with the Spanish teacher to plan how to develop appropriate Math and Science curriculum for the immersion program.

August, 2000

The highlight of the summer was a four-day "Language Immersion Boot Camp" presented by Regla Armengol, an Hispanic teacher-of-the-year from Virginia who taught in a partial immersion program at Bailey's Elementary in Fairfax County and also worked with native Spanish speaking students on literacy in Spanish after school. We took extensive notes during the workshop so that we would be able to share the learning in future years. While we began the workshop developing a strong theoretical understanding of language acquisition, we ended with concrete nuts-and-bolts, like how to create a letter home to parents.

September, 2000

During the first weeks of school, we developed a number of tools to help teachers communicate well with parents about the expectations of the program. See, for example:


Evaluating the Program

The federal grant provided funding to evaluate the program during the first year.

September, 2000 - June, 2001

An important part of implementing a new program, such as the Spanish language partial immersion program, is to evaluate how it is going. Throughout the first year of the program, we took steps to reflect on the results of the program and the experiences of the people involved. More important, we used these reflections to guide us in what to do to improve the program.

The program evaluation included both qualitative and quantitative aspects. Qualitative elements included looking at attitudes and experiences, for example, through questions at parent and staff meetings, and responses to surveys and questionnaires. Quantitative elements included looking at student achievement in Math and Science, as demonstrated by classroom work and assessments (tests). To evaluate how much Spanish language the children acquired each year, we conducted special oral language interviews (Early Language Listening and Oral Proficiency Assessment - ELLOPA) with the help of experts in assessing early language learning from CAL (Center for Applied Linguistics) in Washington, DC.

The links below will help you trace our progress in evaluating the Language Immersion Program. (The documents below are in PDF format which allows you to view them electronically on most computers. The freely available Adobe Acrobat reader is required to view and print PDF files.)

Parent Meeting October 10, 2000
Portfolio Planning with Dr. Stephen Kerr
Concerns from Staff Meeting December 22, 2000
Language and Math meeting with Regla Armengol January 18, 2001
Observations from Regla Armengol January 19, 2001
Program Evaluation Outline - January 23, 2001
Concerns from Staff Meeting Dec 22, 2000:
January 31, 2001 milestones
Program Evaluation Planning - February 5, 2001
Program Evaluation Planning - February 6, 2001
Program Evaluation Planning - July 26, 2001
Concerns from Staff Meeting Dec 22, 2000:
March 31, 2001 milestones
Concerns from Staff Meeting Dec 22, 2000:
May 31, 2001 milestones


Early Language Listening & Oral Proficiency Assessment (ELLOPA)

The first formal language proficiency assessment, the ELLOPA (Early Language Listening & Oral Proficiency Assessment), was conducted at the school in spring 2001 by a team from the Center for Applied Linguistics ( The following spring, we presented a one-day overview workshop on the ELLOPA for teachers (and instructional assistants and several UW grad students) at the University of Washington. We then arranged for the CAL trainer to spend two days working directly with the teachers and instructional assistants, coaching them on their interviewing and rating skills.

For a summary of results from the first two years of assessment, see:


Publications about John Stanford International School

Two articles about John Stanford International School and Hamilton International Middle School were published in New Horizons for Learning (  

  • John Stanford International School in Seattle
    An article in New Horizons for Learning spring, 2001 that describes the immersion program launched at John Stanford International School in fall 2000.
  • International Public Schools in Seattle
    An article in New Horizons for Learning spring 2004 that describes the evolution of the Seattle international public schools and current status of language immersion in Spanish and Japanese at John Stanford International School.

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  2003 Anciaux International Communication
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