There has never been a better time in history to speak more than one language, but why is it that many communities tend to neglect the treasure in their own backyard? Well, not in Patterson! Obviously, Spanish is a good language to know if you are a Californian, but are you aware that Spanish is spoken in 21 countries worldwide?
In 2009, PJUSD established its first K-8 school as Walnut Grove School. We opened as a Dual Language Academy stand within the city limits of Patterson. The dual language/dual immersion program started with two kindergarten classes that are now in seventh grade. Students in the dual immersion program are instructed in a 50/50 language model. Beginning in Kindergarten, 50 percent of instruction takes place in Spanish and 50 percent of the instruction is in English (50:50 ratio). It is through this concept of "total immersion" in both languages that children first begin to acquire the foundation that will anchor their progress as they start their journey towards being bilingual and bi-literate students.
Since the program commenced, we have been working diligently to provide children with an excellent opportunity to enrich their education with fluency in English and Spanish. We are proud to say that the Walnut Grove School Dual Language Academy provides an enrichment program dedicated to building a student body that is bilingual, biliterate and multicultural.
Every staff member at Walnut Grove School is committed to preparing our students to be college and career ready and instilling that belief the minute they enter our school. Every student is “our student,” even after eighth grade promotion.
Walnut Grove staff believes that all students have the opportunity to go to college and as a staff we do everything in our power to get our students ready for college or career. Every class has adopted a college to promote higher education. We hold students to high academic and behavior standards. We have what we call ‘character trait assemblies’ that promote our Character Counts program, where we recognize one student from every classroom as Student of the Month.
We are big on recognition here! There are also academic awards assemblies each semester where we recognize students that are meeting or exceeding grade level standards in English and Spanish, a nod to our dual language academy. Equally important, we recognize students that are “Most Improved,” who are not at grade-level standards but are working really hard and making progress. Attendance is taken very seriously at Walnut Grove too. We honor students and whole classrooms that attend every school day and have perfect attendance. This team, these teachers, must be doing something right when students so value attending school every day!
Outside of the classroom, students can participate in our Baile Folklorico cultural dance program, athletics program for middle school students, Associated Student Body and Elementary Student Council. We hold annual school community events, such as Science Fair Night, Cultural Day and PTO Letter Writing Night, which families look forward to every year.
With such grand goals, we are charged with addressing the needs of individual students and prescribe the specific enrichment and/or intervention they need. Our staff works diligently to do just that, they support our students and are committed to the success of every single student. There are NO EXCUSES…..si se puede!