English Learner Case Study: El Sol

06 Jan, 2015


The mission of El Sol Science and Arts Academy (El Sol) is to provide a rigorous academic environment that prepares students for entrance into a college preparatory track at the high school of their choice and to create a culture of kindness, creativity, courage, and honesty that will permit our graduates to assume leadership roles in the 21st Century. El Sol works to achieve that mission through a variety of curricular areas of focus. In particular, El Sol provides a dual immersion program. The program develops bilingualism and bi-literacy in Spanish and in English. Students emerge competent in multiculturalism through the understanding of different cultures and the development of high self-esteem. El Sol is located in Santa Ana, CA. It serves just over 750 students and has been in operation 12 years.  In 2013, 76% of students qualified for free and reduced meals.  El Sol serves students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade.  In 2013, 96% of students are Hispanic while 3% are White and 0.5% are Asian.  The school also places curricular emphasis on instruction in the arts and sciences.

Focus Area I:  Dual Language

El Sol's dual immersion program is heavily focused on language acquisition and language mastery in first Spanish and then English, regardless of the students’ primary home language. While the program is designed to be, and is, successful for English Only students as well as English Language Learners, El Sol has found it to be particularly successful with students who have limited English skills.  This video explores the key program components of the program.

Focus Area II: Extended Learning

El Sol operates a robust extended day program that offers supplemental academic instruction for struggling students and cultural enrichment activities in the areas of music, dance, sports, and math. More than 400 students stay at school from 3pm – 6pm to participate in intervention and enrichment activities. Students who are struggling are given intensive and customized support, allowing them to master difficult concepts and make significant gains. Students also receive extensive training in music, fine arts and dance. This video explores the academic interventions that are designed and monitored to reflect the classroom instruction and to support individual student achievement.

Focus Area III: Wrap Around Services – Wellness Center

Since 2009, the Share Our Selves (SOS)-El Sol Wellness Center has provided a wide range of on-site health, education and social services, as well as case management, for El Sol’s families.  The Wellness Center's mission is to improve the health of El Sol's families - with "health" broadly defined to include physical, emotional, economic, educational and environmental health - so the families may better support their children's education. In collaboration with Share Our Selves, a licensed community clinic, and over a dozen community partners, the Wellness Center offers the following services: Health (urgent care, health and dental screenings, dental treatment, health education, and referrals); Social (assistance applying for health insurance and other benefits, legal clinics, tax workshops, and food pantries); Educational (English as a Second Language, computer and citizenship classes, parenting education, mentoring for graduating families, and music appreciation events); and Case Management. This video explores how the Wellness Center increases access to healthcare for low–income families, strengthens the families' overall quality of life, increases the parents' capacity to support their children's education, and expands educational opportunities for children.

For more information visit the school’s website at: http://www.elsolacademy.net/


Tools and Resources

Tools and Resources
Dual Immersion – Common Core Phase I Implementation Overview 2014

Graphic overview of the focus areas for Common Core implementation.  Focus areas include awareness building and communication, instructional shifts, peer observation model, and expectation and accountability.

Dual Immersion – Staff Development Introduction

Presentation includes an overview of the transition to Common Core, the instructional model, and extended day.

Dual Immersion – Staff Meeting Schedule

The staff meeting schedule provides a monthly break down of professional development trainings, collaborative meetings and grade level meetings.

Extended Day – Parent Handbook

The handbook provides information on the objectives of the program, homework policy, communication, and program components in English and Spanish.

Wrap Around Services/ Wellness Center – Presentation on Comprehensive School-Based Oral Health in Southern California

This presentation provides information on the projects implemented by Share Our Selves and their partnership with El Sol to advance care delivery for underserved children.

Wrap Around Services/ Wellness Center – Wellness Policy The manual provides policy guidelines in the following areas nutrition, physical activity, emotional health, illnesses, medication administration, staff wellness, safe/healthy school environment and evaluation.
Wrap Around Services/ Wellness Center – CFCOC Presentation This presentation provides information on the wellness center and the plans for the new building.
Wrap Around Services/ Wellness Center – CLC Report This report provides information on El Sol and the health outcomes, academic integration, data integration, screening structures, classes, and logic model.
Wrap Around Services/ Wellness Center – Wellness Day Flyer This flyer advertises the student led wellness day.
  Dual Language – Curricular Materials This document includes the curricular materials used by El Sol in mathematics, Spanish language arts, English language arts, social studies, and science.