| September 2010
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By Tara Duggan
There aren’t too many chances to dance outside, especially in your neighborhood. But Baile Familiar (Family Dance), a community event at Fairmount Elementary School on Sept. 10, will give neighbors an opportunity to dance to Latin music as the sun goes down. Open to everyone, the party will take place on the school’s main yard from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. There will also be a free salsa dance class and Mexican food to buy.
Located at the corner of Randall and Chenery streets, Fairmount is a public school with a dual Spanish-English immersion program, and its Baile plays an essential role in building community, both within the school and the neighborhoods that surround it. The Baile follows in the tradition of village celebrations in Latin America, where young and old gather in the town square for a dance party. It’s also a way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15), which teaches students about the cultures of Hispanic Americans and helps them appreciate diversity within their communities.
The Baile also raises funds to support vital enrichment programs at Fairmount, which are even more essential in light of recent harsh state budget cuts. The suggested donation to attend the event is $4 per person, or $15 for a family of four. There will be a stand with moderately priced Mexican street foods for sale, with proceeds going toward the school. Raffle tickets for prizes from local businesses and sponsors, such as Gialina Pizzeria, Glen Park Nails, and La Corneta Taqueria, will also be available.
There are other ways for community members to get involved in their neighborhood public school. Fairmount has vast outdoor areas and hosts a gardening day once a month, when volunteers can get their hands dirty. To find out more, contact garden coordinator Carey Craddock at firstname.lastname@example.org or check for updates at www.fairmountschoolpta .org. In addition, Fairmount will host its fall car wash on Sept. 25, so please come by the school that Saturday.
Fairmount also has an enthusiastic new principal, Jeremy Hilinski, who was most recently assistant principal at a dual immersion school in East Palo Alto.