Monday, January 28, 2008

And on the school front

I got this lightning quick email response from Janet Alvarez, the Principal of Eddie Cortez Elementary (Pomona's new math and science magnet school):

"Good Morning,

I was very excited to read your email. We are always happy to share information about our great school.

When I got your email, I started asking some of the parents what they think about Cortez. It would be so easy for me to write but, I really wanted the parent perspective. So, this is what some of the parents said.

When you walk into Cortez, it has a very positive feel. All the staff is very friendly and it is a very community oriented school. The school has a great library and computer lab which is open before school, during recess and lunch and after school.

Cortez is a school where all children are accepted and not based on grades. We like the full day Kinder program.

The curriculum is very rigorous. Students are involved in projects, problem solving and critical thinking. Students learn by doing and by inquiry.

Now my piece. This is a great school. We will be going up to 7th grade next year and 8th the following year. Our students know the expectations and strive to do their best.

If you would like to come by and see the school, we are hosting a tour on Tuesday, January 29th at 9:00 a.m.

Thank you for your interest. We appreciate the opportunity to share with the public.

Janet Alvarez"

GofP: Cortez sounds like the kind of school where any parent would feel comfortable hanging their child's backpack. That's a good thing for Pomona.



D's dad said...

Transfering my daughter from Ranch Hills to Cortez was the best decision my wife and I have made regarding our daughters education. It was not an easy decision but thanks to a few incidents last school year we took a chance. The
6th grade teaching staff at Cortez has exceeded my expectations as educators and are not text book teachers who work at a Blue Ribbon school. I am thankful that Mrs. Alvarez was very selective when it came to hiring her teaching staff and am looking forward to next year when my son begins kinder.

me said...

Thanks for weighing in on that, d's dad. You must be excited about Cortez adding higher grades. I went to the open house the other day and was impressed. Especially by the futuristic play equipment! But seriously, I like the concept of teaching music from 4th grade on (because it IS related to math, just ask Suzuki). They will soon start teaching a second language (the principal said probably Japanese, Cantonese or Mandarin) when they become a Bach. school where international awareness will be emphasized. For it's first year, it seems to be running like a well oiled machine.

G of P

Ed said...

Anyone know why Japanese, Cantonese, or Mandarin would be chosen over Spanish for early education? I'll stick my neck out here and suggest fluency in Spanish would be more useful and more marketable than these three languages. Even children growing up in Spanish-speaking households aren't learning the basics of reading and writing the language. Wouldn't emphasizing Spanish in schools provide validation to some of our community that they have an asset worthy of sharing. Perhaps it would give a struggling segment of the student population a boost in confidence and spark more enjoyment in school. Don't we all like to be good at something!

Not to question the principal's intent, but could she be looking for a hook to pull more Asian students into the magnet school. Call me a skeptic.

Ed said...

A clarification of sorts:

I recognize the language choice may be driven by an accreditation need, so this criticism may be better directed toward school systems, in general, with a large population of Spanish speakers.

Excuse my pet peeve, likely the result of not studying Spanish more diligently in my younger years,

me said...

The principal told us that the bacchaloriet (no spell check) program emphasizes international awareness. So, since Spanish is something most children there are familiar with, the aim is to expose them to another language and make them well rounded.

I too like the idea of Spanish. I think many kds fall into the category of r. Big where they can understand it, but dont' speak it. Many others, like you say, can speak it, but have trouble writing it.

I see nothing wrong with adding two languages, since children at that age absorb it. But I think in terms of Cortez there would be time constraints, given that they do an hour each day of math and science already.

Oh and of the 3, I think it's Cantonese that is thought to be the most advantgeous in a business sense. The principal seemed to say that they are favoring Japanese.

G of P