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Sherman Academy Recognized as 'Promising Practice' for Educating English Learners

Principal Caballero and students at Sherman.
 Principal Caballero and students at Sherman.

Sherman Academy's goal of creating bilingual and bi-literate students has been designated a "Promising Practice for English Learners" by the US Department of Education's National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Sherman is a pre-K through fifth grade dual-language immersion program where students receive half of their instruction in English, and half in Spanish located in the Sherman Heights neighborhood east of downtown San Diego. It is one of San Diego's oldest schools.

"Key to Sherman’s philosophy is the goal of creating bilingual and biliterate students, and Sherman’s principal and staff work hard to make sure that parents are invested in this mission," the report said. "The school has seen promising outcomes over the four years since the program has been implemented, moving aggregated student performance from 127 points below the state average to a mere 13 points below."

The report cited the school's relationship with parents, making them an important part of their child's education.

"Engaging parents is very important and that’s why parents, teachers, staff, and the administration make a commitment to work together for the benefit of our students," parent Minerva Espejo said in the report. "The parents walk next to the principal, not in front of or behind him, and this supports our children’s success."

Principal Edward A. Caballero said the school's immersion program, which began when the rebuilt Sherman reopened in 2007, is showing results that are helping kids be better prepared for the world around them.

"Early language acquisition not only gives them the skills to move between a variety of nations and cultures," he said, "but studies have shown it helps children develop critical thinking skills that help them later in life."

Sherman's staff works to prepare students for life in a global society by giving them a strong foundation in English and Spanish language arts, using an acclaimed reading and writing program through immersion in both languages. The dual immersion challenges students with half instruction in English, the other in Spanish, an innovative strategy that aims to move students to fluency and higher achievement. The program was developed with active involvement of community leaders and parents.

The full report is available for download at http://www.ncela.gwu.edu/files/uploads/promising_EL/sherman.pdfs. For more information, contact Caballero at (619) 615-7000.