Sunday, May 04, 2008

Otay Elementary is off the watchlist!

Principal reveals steps to success
By David Berlin
May 1, 2008
San Diego Union Tribune

This year, Otay Elementary was one of three schools in Chula Vista to come off the "program improvement" list, a watch list for schools that fail to meet federal testing requirements two years in a row.

Otay Elementary School Principal Francisco Velasco is all about the numbers...

To Velasco, the numbers represent his students and the charts show exactly how the school in southwest Chula Vista is making the grade...

Otay Elementary also received a California Association for Bilingual Education award for excellence...
Seventy percent of students at Otay speak another language at home and are learning English at school.

“It's a huge challenge because we start testing in second grade and those kids will take the test in English,” Velasco said.

“So you have to provide some sort of transition program that fast-tracks English. Studies have shown that it takes five, six, seven years to be able to acquire that language and to be able to really function at a good level. But we don't have that much time.”

...Every hour of every school day at Otay Elementary is spent teaching basic English and other skills like reading and math. That means no music class, no art class and no gym class, which instead are offered as after-school clubs.

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