Frequently Asked Questions

Who began this initiative?
BPWLI is a group of Burns Park parents who have been working since spring 2005 to bring foreign language instruction to Burns Park School. A survey of Burns Park families that summer showed strong backing for foreign language instruction in the elementary grades, and a 2015 followup survey confirmed continuing support. With the support of the school principal and teachers, we established a non-profit corporation to raise funds and hire a Spanish instructor.

When did instruction begin?
It began March 26, 2006!

Is this better than lunchtime or afternoon programs?
It’s true that the children’s school day is already packed. But holding the classes after school makes it hard for families whose children ride the buses, or who need after-school care, to participate in the program. By integrating language instruction into the school day, we ensure that all students can reap the benefits of learning a language, regardless of their family circumstances. Foreign language instruction in elementary school also provides benefits for children in their other academic subjects, so it is a win-win situation for children.

Other schools have experimented with language instruction, either at lunchtime or after the school day. But nearly all of these programs were sporadic, and relied heavily on parent volunteers to make substantial commitments to teaching. For foreign language instruction to become a regular part of the curriculum, we needed to make sure it was provided in a consistent, professional and fair way.

Who is the instructor?
Our instructor is Chelo Digon. Chelo taught the 3-4 program last year.

How much does this cost?
Thanks to the generosity of our community, we have been very successful in our early rounds of fundraising. This has allowed us to guarantee funding for the program a year in advance. Our current budget projections show that the cost is about $80 per pupil for a full year in the intensive program. By comparison, the 20 week after-school language program offered through Ann Arbor Rec & Ed currently costs $219 for an hour of instruction one time per week.

Is my contribution tax deductible?
We are incorporated as a non-profit in the State of Michigan, and now have 501(c)(3) status. Check with your tax preparer: your contribution may be tax deductible.

Do you have a flexible payment plan?
Yes! You may pay in whole or in installments. If you are unable to donate at this time, please consider making a pledge.

Do you have a credit card option?
Yes! You can pay by credit card via PayPal through our contribution form (a PayPal account is not required).

If you have additional questions, please use our contact form.

Did you know...?

o ...that Burns Park Elementary has the 3rd largest Spanish-speaking student population (in an elementary school) in the district? This kind of program often benefits these children in many ways, leading to improved academic achievement in other areas.

o ...that many other elementary schools in our district have long-standing parent-funded enrichment?

o ...that this program was originally offered as a pilot for the district with the vision of Foreign Language Education during the school day becoming a reality for all Ann Arbor Elementary students?

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