In Partnership with 74

Letter from principal about Spanish spoken in fewer homes

Mike Szymanski | May 4, 2016

Your donation will help us produce journalism like this. Please give today.

MARA BOMMARITO Ochoa Learning Center principal

Mara Bommarito, principal of Ellen Ochoa Learning Center, at the LAUSD board room.

Principal Mara Bommarito of Ellen Ochoa Learning Center said at Tuesday’s LA Unified school board committee meeting that she responded to a Los Angeles Times article about Spanish spoken in fewer homes in a letter to the editor, but when she mentioned it hadn’t been published, a school board member responded.

“It wasn’t published, there has been a lot of news happening lately,” the principal told the committee, which consisted of three school board members.

Board member George McKenna said, “Well, I am very interested in what you have to say, please send it along to me.”

Below is the letter from the principal about her school and her experience with Spanish-speaking families:




I read with keen interest your article of Friday, April 22, 2016 “Spanish spoken in fewer homes.” Your article confirms what I know based on my experience of 25 years as a school administrator in the cities of Maywood, Bell and Cudahy.

English has always been the language of choice regardless of the students’ home language. During this time, I have seen generations of students from Spanish-speaking homes lose their first language and when in high school enroll in Spanish 1.

For the last 11 years, I have been the principal of Ellen Ochoa Learning Center in Cudahy, a K-8 school of 1,500 students. We have a thriving dual language program! Dual language is a program for any child: those who speak English only, those who are learning English, and those who come to school already bilingual.

Our program begins in kindergarten and upon completion in eighth grade students should be able to enter advanced Spanish in high school. I always tell our students that they also need to begin studying another language as well.

Every child deserves the opportunity to be bilingual, trilingual or multilingual, no matter what race, ethnicity or socio-economic level. The United States does not have to be a graveyard of languages.

All are welcome to visit Ellen Ochoa Learning Center!



Read Next