Friday, January 27, 2012

Mount View Elementary Shines on the Hill

With Principal Wells

When I was principal at Beverly Park, I would get to meetings at Mount View by driving down SW 108th, past Lakewood Park. The road dips down and then you rise up a consistent grade until you reach 12th Avenue. Mount View appears at the top of the hill, prominent in the neighborhood.

The old brick built Mount View building was crippled in the Nisqually Earthquake, but in its place has risen a gorgeous new school building. Today, that school serves one of the most diverse communities in America through both traditional and innovative ways.

Touring Mount View

I never seem to have enough time on a school visit to linger everywhere I'd like to, but Principal Felecia Wells and I walked through most of the school. I saw several familiar faces I've known over the years, such as Kathy Patricelli and Dan Wickham, and met many new folks as well.

Mount View students were friendly and orderly in the halls moving between classes. I enjoyed everything I witnessed, including a presentation to 3rd graders by Killer Whale Tales.

A guest presentation on whales in anticipation of a field trip to the Seattle Aquarium

Delila Leber's Spanish kindergarten class
Visiting Dual Language

I also spent time in the Dual Language program. We have dual language classes in Hilltop K-3 and Mount View K-2 and the district is currently exploring adding more schools. Both schools started with kindergarten and have expanded by one grade level per year. There are two classrooms per grade level in the DL program.

In our Dual Language program, we enroll about half native Spanish speakers, half native English speakers, and a few students who will become trilingual. All students take classes in English and in Spanish.

Taping the February superintendent video message on Dual Language
The benefits of dual language immersion are documented in research. The biggest benefit is that students become not just bilingual, but biliterate. But research also shows that native Spanish speakers who stay with program past 6th grade actually score better than native speakers in English as well. Learning academic content challenges the brain in ways that reinforce learning in both languages. There is a waiting list for entry into our Dual Language program and it's easy to see why.

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