January 19, 2001
Jackie Robinson Academy has earned the Seal of Excellence Award for outstanding foreign language and cultural education from the California Association for Bilingual Education.
The K-8 school offers Japanese, French and dual immersion Spanish, allowing Spanish-speaking and English-speaking students to learn a second language side-by-side.
"We're all very, very excited," Principal Beth Flynn said. "Teachers and parents are working their hearts out to provide a high quality education for our students."
The K-8 school is one of only 16 California schools to be honored this year.
Judges who visited Robinson found that students were rapidly learning English. They talked with the children and were impressed to see how much language they had learned.
Judges also said Robinson has top-notch parental and community involvement, and that students and staff show a true appreciation for cultural diversity. Robinson parents participate in Japanese, African American and Filipino support groups, which regularly plan elaborate cultural events and family nights to reinforce classroom lessons.
To receive the award, schools must show that students are substantially improving their English skills. School staff must use effective, standards-based instruction, and they must work well with parents and the community.
The awards began in 1996, when Long Beach's Program of Educational Access for Khmer Students (PEAKS) was one of three exemplary projects recognized statewide. In 1997, Long Beach won again for Henry Elementary School's two-way immersion classes.