About us

Our History

In the spring of 2005, we decided to investigate why foreign language is not part of our public school elementary education and what it would take to make that happen. We contacted the school, the district offices and talked with parents from other schools who also had interests in language programs. What we learned is that given the budget environment at present and in the near future, the Ann Arbor Public Schools District is not able to fund foreign language programs in the elementary schools. We also learned that our principal at the time was very supportive of having foreign language instruction integrated into the daily curriculum for the children at our school.

To gauge community interest and support, we surveyed all Burns Park parents during the summer of 2005; we received overwhelmingly positive responses to the idea of having foreign language taught to every student, during the school day. By our estimates, about 210 families had children attending Burns Park at the time of the survey; 111 responded, with 94% supporting the idea.

The final green light came from the District in the fall of 2005; they agreed to allow language instruction to be integrated into the school day at Burns Park, if we provided 100% of the funding for an instructor. This was a significant step in the right direction. Instead of language being yet another after-school program for a few who could manage to fit it in their schedule or budget, all children at the school would learn together, during their regular school day.

Fundraising began December 2005, and by January 31, 2006 we had reached our first fundraising goal of $40,000 through contributions from families at the school and their friends, neighbors and relatives. An instructor was hired in March and Spanish instruction was added to the curriculum at Burns Park on March 23, 2006!

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