Garden Grove Unified to open a second Spanish dual-language program in 2018-19

The Garden Grove Unified School District is gearing up for the launch of its second Spanish dual-language program.

Coming out of summer break, Russell Elementary School at 600 S. Jackson St. in Santa Ana will reopen as the Russell Elementary Language Academy, presenting academic content in science, social studies, literacy and math in both English and Spanish.

Three students from Russell Elementary School

Students pose for a picture at Russell Elementary School in Santa Ana. In August, the campus will be known as Russell Elementary Language Academy, becoming the second school in the Garden Grove district to offer two-way instruction in English and Spanish.

Students in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten will be the first to participate in the biliteracy program, which will add a new grade level each year.

“We are so proud to open our district’s second Spanish Dual Language Academy to give students at Russell Elementary School the advantage of becoming biliterate and bilingual at a young age,” Garden Grove school board President Bob Harden said in a statement. “Our district is committed to expanding our language programs to help prepare students for a global society.”

In Orange County, 14 districts and 35 schools have built language immersion programs, as have two charter schools. And those numbers are likely to increase. Proponents say biliteracy education boosts self-esteem and motivation while also preparing students for the global job market.

Citing a growing demand, Garden Grove Unified opened its first Spanish Dual Language Immersion Academy in 2016, brining two-way instruction to Monroe Elementary School. That program now serves more than 275 students from transitional kindergarten through the second grade.

The following year, in 2017, the district added a Vietnamese language program at Murdy Elementary School, making Murdy the second Orange County campus to split instruction between English and Vietnamese.

“Our Spanish Dual Language Academy at Monroe has had a waiting list since it opened,” said Teri Rocco, GGUSD Board of Education trustee, “and parents sing praises about the school and the education it provides to students. It is so exciting that we can now offer that same dual-language opportunity to students at Russell.”

Along with the coming biliteracy program, Russell Elementary offers free after-school tutoring, a Boys & Girls Club, a college mentor program, the Latinos Unidos student leadership club and an AVID college readiness program.

Parents interested in learning more about Russell’s dual-language program can contact GGUSD’s Office of English Learner Programs at 714-663-6143.