Language programs to entertain families on Feb. 24

By Hacienda La Puente Unified

The Dual Immersion programs in the HaciendaLa Puente Unified School District at Wedgeworth Elementary, Los Altos Elementary and Valinda School of Academics will present the first Dual Immersion Showcase and Silent Auction.

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, students from our Mandarin and Spanish programs will perform for the community. In addition, local vendors and literacy groups will be on hand to celebrate the success of our students and present materials to the community.

The event will take place at the Hacienda Heights Community Center at 1234 Valencia Ave. in Hacienda Heights from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Vendors/Silent Auction includes: • La Libreria Books, an independent book seller that features English Language children’s books along with authentic Spanish language text. • Conmigo, Affinity Insurance – Family literacy outreach program. • Chinese Book and Education vendors.

Silent Auctions items include movie tickets, vendor baskets, and special school auctions. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Rosalie Sinapi, Principal at Los Altos Elementary School at (626) 933-2302.

Families like Spanish immersion classes in Hacienda La Puente Unified

Habla espanol? Kindergarteners at Valinda Academy and Los Altos Elementary do.

The tykes are just finishing their first year in the new Spanish immersion program in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District. In addition to their ABCs and numbers, these 5-year-olds learned Spanish.

“My son Daniel didn’t speak a word of Spanish when he started,” said parent Daniel Caccam. “And he just won third place in the Spanish spelling bee.”

The proud parent said his son really likes the Spanish immersion class. They’ll continue next year as the school district adds Spanish to a first grade in both schools.

“We use a 90/10 formula, with the class instruction in Spanish 90 percent of the time and 10 percent in English,” explained Valinda Principal Elizabeth Bermejo.

Every year, English is gradually increased until instructional time reaches half English and half Spanish in the fourth through sixth grades.

Sandra Felix’s son, Raymond Anthony Gomez, did even better in the spelling bee, taking second place.

“He loves the Spanish class, now we even watch the news in Spanish,” said the happy mother, who plans to also enroll her 4-year-old daughter Emily in the dual immersion program.

Los Altos Principal Rosie Sinapi thinks so much of the program, that’s she has enrolled her own daughter in the Spanish class.

“The dual language program stimulates a child’s cognitive, social and linguistic development,” Sinapi noted.

The parents’ enthusiasm encouraged school board members Gino Kwok and Jay Chen. Kwok experienced some resistance from parents at first about the Spanish immersion class.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story SPANISH.