Last week was not typical for Rosemont Elementary. As I mentioned here, my stint as principal for a day Thursday came amid crisis for nearby Kahn Elementary, where an auditorium ceiling had collapsed. But I got a glimpse into the life of a principal and an exceptional elementary school.

Rosemont has as many arts programs as a respectable high school. They have a 16-year-old dance program. There is an orchestra, art classes with ceramics, drama and choir. Their spring performance, I’m told, is fun to watch even if your kid isn’t in it. I don’t know if I’m buying that story, but I don’t intend to miss the show next year.

Besides that, Rosemont has a dual-immersion language program in which English- and Spanish-speaking students learn science and social studies in English some days and in Spanish others. Most Americans who went to public school never got to learn a second language until high school. By then, it’s a struggle. For third graders at Rosemont, learning about soil erosion in Spanish is as normal as having tacos for lunch.

More after the jump.

Students from two fourth-grade classes read aloud their writing assignments, which were personal narratives. They were funny, sad and hopeful. And a few of these kids can tell stories about as well as any professional. Maybe we should teach them to blog.

Principal Anna Brining says one of the school’s goals is to "abolish tutoring." She means that students should get all the education they need within school hours, even if they need one-on-one instruction. Rosemont uses Department of Education grant money to hire retired teachers, who give saturated instruction in language, math and other areas.

It’s hard to believe that Rosemont is a public school. It’s hard to believe that it’s a DISD school. And it’s in Oak Cliff. Rosemont is exceptional. But it shouldn’t be an exception.

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