Original URL:http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/northeastvalley/articles/0110sr-pvmeeting10Z7.html

Promesa offers diploma hope
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 10, 2004

Ofelia Madrid
12:00 AM
PV district to aid speakers of Spanish

A program designed to reach 16- to 21-year-old Spanish-speaking students who have never been in school is in the works for the Paradise Valley Unified School District.

Thursday night, the governing board voted to hire Dorelyn Kunkel as the teacher/coordinator of the new program, called Promesa. The word is Spanish for promise.

The program will have a full high school curriculum and will be based at North Canyon High School, 1700 E. Union Hills Drive, Phoenix. The program's major difference will be that all the English classes will be given upfront. After the student reaches proficiency in English, the rest of the subjects
will be taught.

Students will have the opportunity to pursue a high school diploma or a general equivalency diploma.

"I don't know of any other program like it," Assistant Superintendent John Weimer said.

Superintendent John Kriekard called the program a service for a part of the community that isn't being served through traditional education options.

"When a 16-year-old student comes in to register and has no credits, the high school says there's no way you'll be able to graduate," Kriekard said.

That news can be discouraging, and the student is likely to drop out, he said.

"We need to develop another plan that serves this group of young people," Kriekard said.

Kunkel is working on recruiting students for the program who are not in school.

"It's our belief there's a lot of students out there that we're not reaching," Weimer said.

This program will help address that need for about 25 students.

"I know there are a lot of young people who would welcome the opportunity to become literate in English," Kriekard said.

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