El Sol Science and Arts Academy
Santa Ana, CA
Grades: DL PK-8
2018 America’s Best Urban Schools Award Winner
El Sol Science and Arts Academy is an independent charter school founded in 2001 with 110 students and now enrolls over 900. The Dual Language program begins in Transitional Kindergarten as a 90/10 model, 90% Spanish/10% English, and gradually increases the use of English. By fourth grade the use of each language is 50/50. Middle school students use their bilingual skills in the community for service projects. They have translated menus for local restaurants and for Nurse Practitioners at community health fairs. Teachers collaborate and have common planning times. There is in-classroom support for teachers, demonstration lessons, and peer-to-peer observation in order to improve student outcomes. Parents are also an integral part of the school and can be seen volunteering on the playground helping with supervision, in classrooms, and doing clerical work for teachers. During the parent focus group they expressed how much they appreciated everything the school does for their children and how excited they are to have their students be bilingual and biliterate. El Sol strives to establish a positive community climate through its culture of kindness, respect, trust, and support for everyone.