More Asian students in district

first_imgVALENCIA – As he stared at his morning paper Tuesday, Marc Winger couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. The usual bold-type letters covering the front page were replaced by crisscrossed lines forming script of a foreign language. The Korean Daily accidentally left at Winger’s home was perhaps a convenient twist of fate for the superintendent of the Newhall School District. Winger’s district serves one of the most culturally diverse regions in the Santa Clarita Valley. “Learning how to properly talk to these parents doesn’t mean learning Korean I know I’ll never learn,” Abruzzo said. “It’s making sure we address their needs appropriately, we understand what they are asking of us and we bring them into our school as much as possible.” Oak Hills has hired two Korean bilingual staffers, an administrator and a bilingual assistant, who among other duties work as translators. Recently, students at Oak Hills got a chance to celebrate a Korean thanksgiving while the school staff was served kimchi, kimpop and other traditional Korean foods at a luncheon catered by parents. “It’s rewarding and interesting to learn about Korean culture,” Abruzzo said. Still some parents wish race wasn’t such an issue. “It would be nice if somewhere in the near future we didn’t have to refer to students as white, Korean or Hispanic, and have fair and just education for all of them,” said Dan Trollinger, a parent at the Newhall district’s Valencia Valley School. Newhall plans to staff its district in a way that addresses the new culture. Winger agreed that with a different culture comes a different set of expectations. “Right now we are dealing with (Korean parents’) expectations of us and our expectation of them,” Winger said. “There is a high value on education in the Asian culture.” Winger said that last week all of the district’s principals received a lunchtime class on Korean culture from a Korean elementary principal from the Los Angeles Unified School District. “We have a lot of challenges, but we are a diverse school district and proud of it,” Winger said. [email protected] (661) 257-5254 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECalifornia’s bungled $1 billion accounting system Already accustomed to a large Latino population, which has remained at about 30 percent for the last six years, the 10-campus district is seeing growth in its Asian population, predominantly among Koreans. “We are now where we were about 20 years ago with the Hispanic community,” Winger said Tuesday. From 1989 to 2006 the district’s Asian population has doubled, from 4 percent to 8 percent. Schools with the highest percentage of Asian students are Oak Hills Elementary – 27 percent – in Valencia’s Westridge development, and the two Stevenson Ranch campuses – Pico Canyon, 17 percent, and Stevenson Ranch Elementary, 14 percent. Handout materials already are translated into Spanish and the district will consider offering Korean translations, Winger said. Oak Hills Principal Wayne L. Abruzzo said that language barrier is but one challenge created by growing cultural diversity. last_img read more