El Marino Language School

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Japanese Immersion Program » FAQ- Enrollment

FAQ- Enrollment

What is El Marino’s attendance area?

El Marino Language School is open to any resident of the Culver City Unified School District attendance area. The school has no neighborhood attendance area. Some students are from English-speaking homes, while some are from homes where Spanish or Japanese is spoken.

How are students selected for kindergarten enrollment?

There are no entrance requirements for Immersion Program students, other than an assessment of their language proficiency.  Students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are considered on a case by case basis following a review of the program guidelines and a recommendation by the IEP team.

Because of high interest in El Marino’s program, the district has established priorities for enrollment, in compliance with the California Education Code and Culver City Unified School District board policies. The following priorities are dependent upon space availability:

  1. Culver City resident siblings of students who will still be enrolled when the sibling begins kindergarten
  2. Culver City residents who speak the target language, either Spanish or Japanese, as determined by the Home Language Survey and the District’s initial language proficiency evaluation, 30% - 50% of the class
  3. Culver City residents who speak English, 50% - 70% of the class
  4. Spanish- or Japanese-speaking students who are non-residents with an approved interdistrict permit
  5. English-speaking students who are non-residents with an approved interdistrict permit 

How many kindergarten spaces are available each year?

Currently the Culver City Unified School District maintains a 22:1 student to teacher ratio in each kindergarten through third grade classroom. There are four Spanish Immersion kindergarten classes and two Japanese Immersion kindergarten classes, for a total of 132 kindergarten spaces. Space may become available at other grade levels as families move.

How do families indicate their desire to enroll a student at El Marino?

Kindergarten registration opens on the same date at all Culver City elementary schools. Siblings of currently enrolled students complete the kindergarten enrollment package at El Marino. Other prospective students must register at their neighborhood school, as determined by their street address. The receiving school completes a “Verification of Registration”, which is brought to El Marino. Parents then complete the “Application for Immersion Program”, which is used to determine native speakers and to establish a lottery if needed. Other families from outside Culver City Unified School District must apply for an inter-district permit through the District Office.

What is the Kindergarten lottery?

Available spaces are filled according to the above priorities. In the event that requests for enrollment exceed available space, personnel at the site conduct a lottery. Based upon the lottery, a prioritized list is established. Students are assigned to classes, according to the order of the list, until all spaces are filled. The remaining students are placed on the waiting list.

When and where is the lottery held, and who is involved?

School staff members conduct the lottery under the supervision of the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services. A member of the community is invited to observe. The lottery is held in the school office. The date is chosen to allow time for parents to complete their applications, and for the school to conduct the assessments to determine which students will be accepted. After the lottery, each family is notified by mail of the placement of their student.

How do families get on the waiting list, and how are students selected from that list?

Prospective kindergarten students who are not placed in a class are placed on the waiting list, in the order their names were pulled in the lottery. Occasionally families move, or the family determines that El Marino is not a good fit for their student. When a student transfers out, the school notifies the family of the child who is first on the waiting list. If that family does not accept the placement, the next person on the list is called. 

Can students enter in other grades?

Students in grades other than kindergarten may enroll, space permitting, if they have sufficient background in the target language to be successful. Immersion teachers screen students for target language proficiency. Depending on the grade level, testing may include oral language, reading, writing and/or mathematics in the target language. Families should contact the school to indicate that they have a student with target language background and that they are interested in enrolling if a space is available.

Can non-residents be admitted to the program?

Non residents may be admitted by inter-district permit, on a space available basis. Families should contact the Permit Office at the District Office to determine the time period to apply for an Inter-District Permit. For further information, please contact the school office.