Watch McDonald International’s Virtual Tour
(presented Jan. 25, 2022) Please watch our video tour recording on WeVideo.
Virtual Tour Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions and answers were part of our virtual tours on January 27, 2021 .
Kindergarten Schedules & Being a Student at McDonald International
Q: Could you tell us what the average school day (when it is face-to-face) is like for kindergartners? What is the daily schedule?
- Time Class 7:55
- School Starts 7:55-8:35
- Instructional Block 8:35-9:15 (art, music, PE, guidance)
- 9:15-9:55 Instructional Block
- 9:55-10:10 Recess
- 10:10-11:10 Instructional Block
- 11:10-11:35 Lunch
- 11:35-11:50 Recess
- 11:50-1:20 Instructional Block
- 1:20-1:35 Recess
- 1:35-2:25 Instructional Block
- 2:25 Dismissal
Q: Do kindergartners stay in the same classroom and the teachers rotate in? or do they move around the school throughout the day?
A: Every student in the school is in one classroom in the morning and shifts to another classroom in the afternoon.
Q: Can you talk about how hard it is for students at first if they do not have the target language at all?
A: The first few months of Kindergarten are hard for most children as they navigate how to interact in a new school, with new people, and new routines. Adding a language component does make it a little bit harder for children. But our teachers want children to succeed and feel happy and successful! They use many tools to help students – visual aids, music, lively conversation, and extra help when needed. We do not expect non-native speakers to become fluent in the first few years at McDonald! Fluency takes time.
Q: Does McDonald support students who need extra support academically?
A: Yes. McDonald offers ELL, math, and reading support.
Follow-up Q: Do you find that the language program fulfills that need, or are additional programs/enrichment necessary?
A: Yes, children learn the subjects in the target language just as they would in English. If extra assistance is needed, students have access to extra help with an additional staff member’s support.
Q: Do K/1 have the same teacher for two years? Or do they switch each year?
A: Typically, there are different teachers each year, but on occasion, if there is a reduced number of K classes, student may have the same teachers for two years in a row.
Q: Do you offer extra reading/academic supports in the target language as well as English?
Q: After learning science and math in Japanese, do the kids also have opportunities to learn both subjects in English? Do parents have to teach them in English later?
A: Teachers, especially in the early grades, do use some English to help ensure children understand concepts when visual aids are not enough in the target language. Parents are not expected to teach these subjects to their children in English later.
Q: Do you have full time EL teachers? How many will be in the Japanese class of 2022? When will your new principal will be selected?
A: We have one full time EL teacher and one part time EL teacher. We have 2 EL instructional assistants.
Q: What is the student-to-teacher ratio in the Kindergarten classrooms?
Q: I noticed a 3D printer behind one of the teachers during intros – what type of STEM learning opportunities do students have at McDonald?
A: McDonald PTA offers a STEM night for our students, but STEM is not an official focus at McDonald. We will have one Japanese class for the 2021-2022 school year with 26 students in the class. A new principal hiring process will begin in February.
Q: How often do kids get outside to play and enjoy fresh air? # of recesses?
A: Kids get outside at least three times a day for a morning recess, a lunch recess, and an afternoon recess. PE may also bring the kids outside.
Q: How often are PE/Art and Music?
A: At least one hour per subject per week.
Q: Our son is currently enrolled in SPS pre-K with an IEP. Can you spend a moment talking about special ed at McDonald? Does the bilingual environment tend to make things harder for kids who need special education? Is there someone we could contact if we have more questions? Thanks!
A: We have two Special Education teachers at McDonald dedicated to resource room support as well as a Speech Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, School Psychologist, School Counselor and 504 Coordinator. The bilingual environment does not impede upon the assistance children need and receive at our school. Please contact out administrative secretary at email@example.com if you have more questions.
Q: Do the subjects taught in the target language change in future grades?
Q: How many kindergarten classes will there be at McDonald in 2021?
A: There will be 2 Spanish Kindergarten classes and 1 Japanese Kindergarten class.
Q: How challenging is it for students who only speak English to become acclimated?
A : Our experienced Kindergarten teachers work hard to help their students feel welcome and become comfortable and “acclimated” within a few weeks using music, games, and stories.
Q: Are the older grades also 26 students per class?
A: We have 26 students per class through third grade. There are 28 seats available for 4th and 5th grade classrooms.
Enrollment Process & Heritage Speaker Information
Q: What level of Japanese language skills would you expect from the students entering the school? Same question for Spanish?
A: Unless your child is a heritage speaker, there is no expectation for them to have any experience in the target language at all.
Q: How much does prior language ability factor into likelihood of acceptance? For example, are native bilingual speakers more likely to be accepted?
A: Native bilingual speakers are important for our program. The district sets aside 20% of our seats for native speakers. That equals 5 seats in each Kindergarten class and those seats are not part of the seat consideration for the other 21 seats. Siblings of existing McDonald students have priority for the available 21 seats, next comes students who live in the Geo Zone, and finally the lottery seats for those children outside of the Geo Zone.
Q: Will you address the admissions process for heritage speakers (Spanish)?
A: Heritage speakers will fill out the Option Form requesting McDonald International as their number one choice, indicating that they are heritage speakers (checking the box). The district sets aside 20% of Kinder seats for heritage speakers. The district will reach out to heritage speaker families to offer them a seat at McDonald and we will schedule language assessments with families, which will happen over Microsoft Teams in the spring.
Q: Can you please explain how the native language set aside works, are those assigned after the tiebreakers including lottery?
A: Yes. Siblings and geo zone placements are made first. Heritage speakers become part of the lottery list. Heritage speakers are pulled from the wait list in the order they were randomized in and contacted for language assessment until the seats are filled.
Q: Can you share how heritage speakers are currently assessed and what the proposed changes are?
A: Heritage speakers will be assessed in the spring by our language immersion teachers over Microsoft Teams, which is a change from in-person assessments.
Q: Is there a difference between heritage and fluency, or are they the same?
A: Yes, there is a difference between heritage and fluency. For enrollment purposes, heritage refers to the families who speak the target language at home every day. It also refers to the cultural background of the family. Language fluency is helpful, certainly, but is not a substitute for families actively speaking the language at home.
Heritage speaker spots are meant to center our students who otherwise would not have their home language honored in a public sphere. For these students, the heritage language is a natural and normal part of everyday life. We want to view these seats through an equity lens. The spots are not meant for students from an immersion preschool, or who have had a second language nanny.
Q: I heard the 20 percent heritage spots are often filled by siblings and geo zone students, is that correct? Or do they not count towards the 20 percent?
A: We encourage families to only apply for a heritage seat if they do not have a sibling student already in the school. Students with siblings at the school have priority over the set-aside heritage seats. The 20% heritage speaker seats are separate from the other tie-breaker categories.
Q: When are heritage speakers assessed?
A: Heritage speaker assessment will take place in late April. You will be notified by the school if your student is eligible for this assessment and possible placement at McDonald.
Q: Can you let us know the percentage of geo zone students end up getting accepted in a typical year?
A: This number depends on the number of siblings entering the school. Some years are higher than others. Historical choice data can be found on the SPS website.
Q: We are interested in entering starting in first grade in the Spanish immersion program in the fall. Could you speak to the enrollment process for first grade? Including how many spaces you expect to be open and how spots will be allocated among heritage and non-heritage speakers?
A: First grade families need to fill out the Option School form on the SPS website just as Kindergarten families do during Option School enrollment Feb 1 – 19, 2021. These seats are filled as openings arise from a waiting list. Special care is taken to place heritage speakers into open heritage seats.We have no way to predict how many open First grade seats there will be from year to year. All waitlists are dissolved on August 31, 2021.
Q: Has enrollment decreased due to Covid? Do you expect a much larger Kindergarten application pool because of Covid this past year?
Q: What are the before/after school care options? (If any?)
A: There are no before-school programs at McDonald International.
- KidsCo – Offers after care at McDonald and summer programs. They are a separate business and have their own waitlists.
- If you are offered placement at McDonald, we recommend that you contact KidsCo immediately if you think you may need after care.
- Other providers for after-care programs are Boys & Girls Club in Wallingford and Little Explorers in Greenlake.
Q: How difficult is it to get into after care programs?
A: It can be difficult so if you are accepted to McDonald, we recommend you contact KidsCo right away to get on their waitlist.
Q: Can you tell us about transportation, are there buses for kids outside the geo-zone?
A: Bus service is not available to children outside the geo-zone. Bus service is available to some after-school programs, such as Wallingford Boys & Girls Club.
Please contact the Transportation Dept within the district for more information.
Q: What is the biggest difference between the program at John Stanford and McDonald?
A: No Difference
Q: What is the racial demographic? What percentage of the school’s population are students of color?
A: Current Percentages:
Asian/Pacific Islander 6%
Black/African American 0.06%
Q: What is the racial demographic of the staff?
A: Current Percentages
- Asian/Pacific Islander 22.73%
- Hispanic/Latino 11.36%
- White 65.91%