Parents who live within the Robert E. Lee Elementary School boundaries for years have been asking for a dual language English/Spanish program. Now, new principal Ali Saiyed is ready to give it to them, with one caveat: He needs commitment letters from 10 English speaking families and 10 Spanish speaking families.

Saiyed made this promise earlier in the week at Lee’s Site-Based Decision Management meeting, according to an email from the Vickery Place Neighborhood Association, saying he “will do everything he can to get the teaching and support in place to start dual language at Lee with an inaugural 2013 kinder class” if the commitments are made.

Robert E. Lee’s kindergarten round-up for the 2013-14 year is 2-4 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 22.

When we reported on shrinking enrollment at Lee in a May 2007 story, parents who were on the fence about the school, or who had made plans for their children to attend other schools, noted that a dual language program could convince them to stick around. The program is a method of teaching English to Spanish-speaking students and Spanish to English-speaking students using standard academic coursework, and has become popular at Dallas ISD schools since its 2005 implementation.

Saiyed was appointed as Lee’s principal at the end of January, taking the place of longtime principal Alicia Zapata. At Friday’s kindergarten round-up, he will give a presentation about the school and introduce the kindergarten teachers.

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