History will be made this fall when Global Ambassadors Language Academy (GALA) opens its doors to students on August 3, 2016. GALA is proud to be the first dual language immersion school (offering both Mandarin and Spanish) in Northeast Ohio, the only Mandarin immersion school in Ohio, and a supporting partner of The Cleveland Plan.

GALA is tuition-free, open to all Ohio residents, and students do not need to have any prior language skills in Mandarin or Spanish to enroll. GALA is located at 13442 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland 44111, in the former Saint Vincent de Paul parish school building, and is currently enrolling K-1 students for the 2016/2017 school year. GALA’s innovative education model blends dual language immersion through the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP) framework.

GALA’s first day of school is Wednesday, August 3rd. To give families and the general public more information about this innovative, new education model, GALA has been hosting monthly open houses since February. GALA hosted its final open house yesterday. GALA is also celebrating its grand opening with a Ribbon Cutting ceremony on Saturday, July 30 at 12:00 p.m., and all interested community members are invited to attend. Refreshments will be provided, as well as face painting and a bounce house for the children.

As an international school, GALA will implement the IB PYP; seeking authorization in our second year of operation. IB is a Swiss-based education program that fosters international mindedness, a life-long love of learning, and student agency through inquiry based learning.

As a dual language immersion school, GALA will provide instruction of all core subjects (Math, Reading, Science, Social Studies) in two languages: English and a Target Language (Mandarin or Spanish); leading to dual proficiency (reading, writing, listening, speaking) by the third grade. In grades K-2, GALA provides instruction in all core subjects in the Target Language (Mandarin or Spanish) for 70% of the school day, and 30% of the day in English for grades K-2 (60:40 for grades 3-5; and 50:50 for grades 6-8). Research also shows that students that attend immersion schools outperform their non-immersion peers on state tests starting in the third grade.

Many children growing up in Cleveland have barely been outside of their own neighborhoods, and few have been introduced to foreign languages. Yet for students who attend GALA, every school day will be a learning experience that not only builds dual language proficiency, but also overall academic performance, cognitive and socio-cultural skills, exposure to the global world and new opportunities. Additionally, GALA will contribute to Northeast Ohio’s economic development efforts, as the schools aids to attract and retain families who are seeking innovative world class educational opportunities, while developing a future workforce for employers seeking 21st century global economy.

GALA is founded by Meran Rogers and several community leaders that serve on its Board. Rogers’ passion to open GALA is fueled by a combination of her experience growing up in Cleveland in a multilingual household with immigrant parents, attending Cleveland and East Cleveland public schools, teaching at a language immersion school in Taiwan, working in Cleveland public schools, and working for City Year and Global Cleveland.

GALA is not affiliated with any other charter school network and is not managed by a for-profit charter management company. Supporting partners of GALA include the Albert B. and Audrey G. Ratner Family Foundation, Bernie Moreno Companies, Eaton Corporation, RPM International Inc., Richard Pogue of Jones Day, Margaret Wong & Associates, Esperanza, Global Cleveland, Asian Services in Action, and the Cleveland Transformation Alliance.