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Posted - 05/21/2009 10:00am
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Flowery and Adele Harrison programs best in Sonoma County

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Flowery and Adele Harrison programs best in Sonoma County

Anna Pier Special to the Sun

The K-8 Dual Immersion Program brought glory to Sonoma Valley Unified School District Wednesday evening when it received the Jack London Award for Educational Innovation. The K-8 program at Flowery and Adele Harrison was selected from four semi-finalists as the best non-traditional educational experience in Sonoma County.
The award is given annually by Sonoma State University’s School of Education. Dean Mary Gendernalik-Cooper announced the recipient to an audience that included 16 representatives from Sonoma Valley. She said that in the 22 years since the award began, the Dual Immersion Program is the first ever to receive a “10” from all three judges in every category. She shared some of the judges’ comments, including: “These were the most engaging classrooms I have see in 20+ years as an educator.” Another judge acknowledged the “ tremendous amount of collaboration among teachers, students and community members.”
Karla Conroy, Adele Harrison Interim Principal, agrees. She noted that the Dual Immersion kids are so engaged in their learning in both English and Spanish that “it takes it to another level.” Conroy praised the program not only for providing “an unparalleled way to develop bilingual and biliterate learners,” but offering “a positive cross-cultural daily experience of living for nine years.”
Justina Montano, coordinator of Dual Immersion at Flowery, commented to the Sun: “For eleven years we’ve felt that our dual immersion program has been the best kept secret in Sonoma. The judges … were amazed with our use of technology, progressive teaching techniques and K-8 collaboration. So now the secret’s out. We’re thrilled for the Flowery and Adele communities, and we’re grateful for the support of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District.”
The award is named for Jack London, known as a lifelong learner and non-traditionalist.
Anna Pier is Director of Educational Programs for CommonBond Foundation.