Valley Elementary School in Poway hosted educators from across the county Wednesday for a "red carpet tour" of the school's dual language program that trains students in English and Spanish, beginning in kindergarten.
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Randy Ward was among the attendees, who arrived on a yellow school bus and visited classrooms across grade levels to see how the program works.
Fourth and fifth grade students in the program greeted the visitors in English and Spanish, then guided them to the school's library for an introductory session with Principal Andrew Johnsen. Starting in kindergarten, program students spend 90 percent of their day learning in Spanish and the other 10 percent in English. This 90-10 model gradually decreases the Spanish language portion of the day as students progress through fifth grade. The classes are split evenly between native English speakers and native Spanish speakers, who all are expected to become fluent in both languages.
Valley's program has been well-praised and is looked to as a model for other districts. Johnsen said he works to ensure that Valley Elementary operates as a unified campus, not as a school split between the nearly 500 students in the program and the non-program students.
Check out the photo gallery scenes from the red carpet tour.