CUSD Approves Spanish Language Immersion Program for RH Dana Elementary

By Shawn Raymundo

RH Dana Elementary School received the green light Wednesday, Dec 14. to transition into a Spanish language immersion school beginning next school year.

The Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees approved the transition plans, which RH Dana Principal Kristen Nelson had laid out during last month’s board meeting.

“We are very excited to open a 50/50 Spanish Dual Immersion Program,” RH Dana Principal Kristen Nelson said in a CUSD press release.

Under the language immersion instruction, students would be taught in English 50 percent of the time and in Spanish the other 50 percent. The transition will be introduced in the 2019-2020 school year, starting with the Kindergarten class, which will carry the program through each subsequent grade level.

The transition is estimated to cost $288,000 over the next five to six years, covering additional staffing and Spanish materials, according to CUSD. That money is to come from general funds as well as Title I – a federal grant program meant to improve certain schools’ education and academic strategies.

With the CUSD Board’s approval, RH Dana will be rebranded from the RH Dana Science and Technology Academy to the RH Dana Language and Science Academy. It will also join four other schools in the district that have similar language immersion programs.

Marian Bergeson Elementary School offers a Mandarin Chinese program, while Las Palmas, San Juan and Viejo Elementary Schools currently have 80/20 Spanish immersion programs, wherein 80 percent of instruction is in Spanish and 20 percent is in English.

RH Dana will host a series of informational meetings regarding the program beginning. Dec. 18 at 9 a.m. The other meetings will be held on Jan. 9 and Jan. 16 at 9 a.m. and on Jan. 17 at 6 p.m.

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