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A new option for dual-language education in Tucson

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A new option for dual-language education in Tucson

By Simone Del Rosario. CREATED Jun 27, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Outside of a few select public schools, music is one of the few classes where the curriculum allows Spanish.

One new charter school is proving it's different outside the public school system.

"We're a dual-language program where we really believe students should come to school and learn Spanish and English equally," said Lina Susee, principal at Mexicayotl Academy.

The academy started in Nogales, Ariz. But come fall, a Tucson branch will be up and running for kindergarten through second grade.

The plan is to expand to the eight grade, but some doubt the academy will be around that long.

"Tucson is one of the cities that has the most applications for charter schools and opens up charter schools left and right. But they also fold just as quickly as they open up," Carmen Campuzano said. 

Campuzano is the principal at Davis Elementary, a bilingual magnet school in the Tucson Unified School District.

While both schools focus on teaching dual languages, and even compete for many of the same state dollars, Campuzano doesn't consider the charter school competition. 

"Sometimes what happens is that they're not able to offer the same kind of quality education programs," she said.

"Our program is going to be very rigorous," Susee responded. "Academia is very important and that's why we're an A school down in Nogales and that will be replicated here in Tucson."

A new study out of Stanford University actually shows that for students learning English as a second language, their learning gains are greater at charter schools than at traditional public schools. 

That growth, however, has the potential to diminish the longer the charter school is around. 

Simone Del Rosario

Simone Del Rosario

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Simone is the KGUN 9 On Your Side resident cowgirl. She has spent most of her life on the back of a horse, and spent all of her high school and college years traveling from rodeo to rodeo with her horses and her dog, Roper.