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Who We Are
Global Ambassadors Language Academy (GALA) is an international language immersion school in Cleveland. GALA is a tuition-free, public K-8 charter school that offers immersion in Mandarin and Spanish alongside English. GALA’s innovative education model aligns with The Cleveland Plan and has support from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Transformation Alliance. GALA is the only language immersion school in Northeast Ohio and first Mandarin immersion school in Ohio.
GALA has brought an education model to the region that has exploded nationally. Similar schools across the nation typically receive over 600 applications for 40 seats. Language immersion education was introduced in the U.S. in 1971 and has rapidly grown. There are more than 1,000 language immersion programs across the country; but before GALA there were only six in Ohio for French and Spanish only in Mansfield, Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati.
GALA’s curriculum adheres to Ohio standards and is delivered through the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP) framework. IB is a Swiss-based education program renowned for international curriculum and develops students’ academic, social and emotional well-being. GALA’s one-way dual language immersion model targets a student population with little or no proficiency in Mandarin or Spanish.
GALA built its school model on 18 months of assessing the needs of its target student population, researching national best practices, and visiting model schools. These include the YuYing Public Charter School in Washington, DC (an IB PYP Mandarin immersion school), St. Louis Language Immersion Schools (a network of IB PYP and MYP Spanish, Mandarin, and French immersion schools), CMSD Campus International School in Cleveland, OH.(an IB PYP school), and Mansfield Spanish Immersion School in central Ohio (the closest immersion school to Cleveland). The GALA leadership team also plans to visit the Columbus Spanish Immersion Academy in Ohio, and East Baton Rouge, Louisiana schools, upon which GALA’s 70/30 language immersion model is based.
Most immersion schools in the country are private or serve higher-income communities. Only a small number of states offer language immersion to low-income inner-city students in public school settings, despite the proven academic and personal benefits of immersion education. GALA’s primary innovation is designing a dual language immersion model to meet the needs and accelerate the dreams of low-income learners. Across the country, low-income students enter kindergarten with a listening vocabulary of 3,000 words, whereas middle-income students enter with a 20,000 word listening vocabulary. To address this “word poverty” and other stark learning gaps, every aspect of GALA’s model for immersion has been developed with its target student population and community in mind.