School History

The Amigos School began as a program at the Maynard School in 1986. By the mid-1990s, it had expanded to become a Kindergarten-through-8th grade program, with grades K-3 located at the Maynard School building and grades 4-8 at the Robert F. Kennedy School building. In 1997, the program’s K-8 grades were consolidated at the Kennedy School building. In the Spring of 2001, after considerable lobbying efforts by Amigos parents, the Cambridge School Committee voted to make the program an autonomous school within the Kennedy School building. In 2002 the bilingual students then housed at the Longfellow School were incorporated with Amigos. Later in the 2003-04 academic year, and as result of the School Consolidation Plan passed by the Cambridge School Committee, the Amigos School moved to the King School building located in Putnam Ave.

kids_content.jpgThe Amigos School is founded on a dual-language immersion model. This is very different from Transitional Bilingual Education, where non-English speaking students are given instruction in their native language for a short period and then placed in mainstream, English-only classrooms. It is also different from traditional “foreign language” models, where the goal is to provide students with a basic, conversational familiarity with a language. The dual-language immersion model is a rigorous academic program where students are expected become biliterate - to read, write and speak with the same high level of proficiency in two languages. This model is based on an equal respect for different languages and equal respect for the cultures of which those languages are a part.

Amigos students reflect the overall population of our city. They are drawn from diverse ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Generally, they are grouped in two broad categories: those from families where Spanish is the dominant language and those from families where English is the dominant language. This means that, in addition to our highly trained and experienced teachers, staff, and administrators, Amigos students are important resources in the learning process. Though their interactions at the school, our students provide support and guidance to each other as they acquire language skills and cultural knowledge.

This philosophy is not limited to our students and their activities. The Amigos School actively seeks and requires the involvement of parents as a significant part of our learning community. The majority of our meetings are held in both languages, and translation is always available. Amigos parents have many different kinds of opportunities to contribute to the school, and everyone is strongly encouraged to take part in the educational process. Our own history tells us that the ongoing participation of parents is a major factor in the success of the Amigos School.