SAN GABRIEL, CA – San Gabriel Unified schools were abuzz with excitement on Aug. 20 as students and staff returned for the 2018-19 year, greeted by new principals and expanded learning opportunities designed to boost academic achievement.
“Over its 150-year history, San Gabriel Unified has been committed to providing students with the best education available,” SGUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “This year, we will continue to develop and expand many of our outstanding programs to ensure students are prepared for a lifetime of success.”
San Gabriel Unified expanded its transitional kindergarten program this year to McKinley Elementary, which joins Roosevelt and Washington elementary schools in jumpstarting learning with developmentally appropriate curriculum.
“We’re really excited to add transitional kindergarten to our educational offerings this year,” McKinley Principal Jim Symonds said. “We’re going to be able to introduce our students to comprehensive learning opportunities that much sooner. Our TK students will begin coding and working with robotics in the STEM lab along with everyone else.”
McKinley Elementary is also expanding its flagship Spanish dual-language immersion program, which will offer fourth-grade instruction for the first time. The program, which launched in 2014, provides native English speakers and English learners the opportunity to develop biliteracy and bilingualism through standards-based curriculum. It is slated for schoolwide implementation by 2019-20.
Roosevelt Elementary’s signature Music Immersion Experience (MIE) program will also grow in 2018-19 to offer two new elective classes, folklorico dance and songwriting/improv. The after-school courses will join more than a dozen other elective offerings, provided to the school’s second- to fifth-graders in addition to fundamental music lessons.
Schools across the District are also continuing their implementation design-based learning (DBL), which helps students learn to acquire, retain and synthesize classroom lessons through kinesthetic problem-solving.
Elementary administrators are also using DBL methodology to create a more cohesive and positive school climate. San Gabriel Unified plans to transform one campus into a DBL demonstration school for other schools and districts.
San Gabriel Unified also appointed two new elementary school principals. Sandra Dunville, who is leading Washington Elementary, comes to San Gabriel Unified after serving as an assistant principal at Glenmeade Elementary in Chino Valley Unified. Ivonne Contreras is taking the helm at Wilson Elementary after her tenure as assistant principal at Jefferson Middle School.
“I worked in elementary education for 14 years and am excited to return to that,” Contreras said. “Wilson Elementary has a strong community of dedicated parents and outstanding staff, and I am thrilled to be part of it and look forward to what we can accomplish this year.”