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Tulancingo Sister City Association banned from touting exchange program in Pleasanton schools

Classroom recruitment was primary source of applicants with deadline today

The Pleasanton Tulancingo Sister City Association is struggling to recruit high school students for its annual summer exchange program.

The sister city organization typically received the bulk of its applicants after presenting about the exchange program in high school Spanish classes. However, the district has a longstanding policy against allowing organizations to present during class time, except for organizations the district sponsors, district spokesman Patrick Gannon said.

Applications are due Saturday for the cultural exchange program, which runs from July 10 to July 31.

The Pleasanton Tulancingo Sister City Association had presented in classrooms in previous years, association student exchange director Margo Tarver said.

"That has been the primary source of recruitment in the past, so we're feeling quite challenged," she said of the 32-year program.

Gannon said the district only recently became aware that the association was recruiting students during class time, and it was asked to stop. In addition to interrupting class time, allowing additional individuals on campus is a liability, he said.

Tarver said the association has only received one application for this summer's exchange program trip.

The exchange student program plans to send five Pleasanton high school students to Tulancingo, Mexico, for three weeks this summer. The families of the participating students will each host a high school student from the sister city.

Tarver said students will pay $1,000 to cover the cost of their flight and some small expenses, and Pleasanton host families will pay the cost of hosting a student in their home for three weeks.

Gannon said the organization may put a flier in school offices and can send out information via school newsletters. Tarver said the organization has done both and hasn't received much interest from students.

For more information, visit http://www.ptsca.org. To download the application, click on "Exchange information and important dates" under the "youth" drop-down list.

Students must submit an application, a letter of reference and a personal essay. Two years of Spanish classes or equivalent ability is required.

The organization recently opened the program to Dublin and Livermore students. Private school and charter students are eligible to apply.

Comments

2 people like this
Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Mar 24, 2016 at 4:53 pm

True leadership by the school district...."Gannon said the district only recently became aware that the association was recruiting students during class time, and it was asked to stop. In addition to interrupting class time, allowing additional individuals on campus is a liability, he said."

This type of program is REAL learning...wow...


Like this comment
Posted by Susan Dickinson
a resident of Valley Trails
on Mar 26, 2016 at 11:14 pm

It would be a shame for this wonderful program to lose student participation because of a thoughtless decision by the school district. My daughter participated 7 years ago and it was an invaluable experience for our whole family. We still stay in contact with our Tulancingo student.

I can't imagine anything more encouraging for Spanish students, then to realize they have the opportunity to actually live in a Spanish-speaking home. The Spanish language and Mexican culture they will absorb over the six-week program are more than they will learn during an entire year of high school classroom Spanish.

The School District needs to rethink this policy.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

This issue is another parent demand on the district!


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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