César E. Chávez Elementary — a school like no other
By Richard Jones, El Hispanic News
Salem, OR — On Monday, Sept. 10, Salem will have a new elementary school — “new” as in “like no other.”
On Aug. 28, a grand opening celebration took place at César E. Chávez Elementary School in northeast Salem.
Principal Olga Cobb called it the first school of its kind and, to date, the only of its kind.
“Our new school is the most technologically advanced teaching and learning laboratory in the state of Oregon,” said Eduardo Angulo, director of the Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality.
To be sure, the school for students ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade is tricked out with the latest technology, but that’s just half the story.
“We want our kids to learn in different ways,” Cobb said.
The grand opening featured a visit from Anthony Chávez, grandson of the legendary labor leader. “This is probably the best school dedicated to my grandfather,” he said. Chávez flew up from California for the occasion.
In addition to traditional learning, the school will help children to develop a strong sense of character and their role in the community, according to according to Marisa Salinas, the civil rights and EEO officer for the Oregon Department of Human Services.
“The end of all education should surely be service to others,” she said.
“This school is a continuing learning [experience] for everyone — including teachers,” Salinas added.
Several of the rooms have one-way windows, allowing teachers and university students can observe classes without disrupting them. Willamette University, Western Oregon University, and Corban University will participate in learning programs at Chávez Elementary.
The two-story building will accommodate 600 students.
With wet labs, ample computers, smart boards, and videos on demand, the subject that drew most comments from teachers was “Literacy Squared.” This program, developed at the University of Colorado, promises to help children learn a second language using new techniques.
Josette Boyden, a teacher at the school, described the “Literacy Squared” program “a literacy-based ESL [English as a Second Language] technique.”
According to the BUENO Center at the University of Colorado, “The framework is based on three research-based concepts that suggest that the improvement of schooling for emerging bilingual children can be accomplished via programs that develop biliteracy through attention to literacy in Spanish as well as English, attend to the quality of instruction, and plan instruction to include direct and explicit attention to cross-language connections. This means that the language of instruction for literacy includes both Spanish and English, and that instruction in these two languages is planned in purposeful and intentional ways to create trajectories toward biliteracy. The Literacy Squared intervention includes authentic instructional approaches in Spanish and English that respect and attend to the internal structures of each of the languages, emphasizing direct, explicit, and collaborative instructional approaches that have proven to be beneficial for emerging bilingual children. Instruction is planned to include direct and explicit attention to cross-language connections to enable children to learn how to use both of their languages in strategic ways to enhance their biliteracy development.”
Kellie Leavenworth, a first-grade teacher at the school, noted that in addition to English and Spanish, children speaking 26 different languages will attend the school. Children from as far away as Russia and the Marshall Islands will need to learn English.
“It’s challenging,” Leavenworth observed, “but that’s what I love about my job.”
Even with computers providing a wide range of information to the students, one of the traditional sources of education — books — will have their place in the school library.
Steve Cox, library media coordinator for the Salem-Keizer School district, said the library will have 12,500 books, about 25 percent of them in Spanish. The books will mostly come from the Hazel Green and Middle Grove schools in Salem.
Several hundred parents and children showed up for the grand opening.
“When I saw all the people, my eyes watered up,” Salinas said. “It is really exciting.”
Este artículo también está disponible en / This post is also available in: Spanish
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