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Home / News / Education / Huerta school in Fontana receives award for bilingual education

Huerta school in Fontana receives award for bilingual education

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Dolores Huerta International Academy has earned the 2023 Seal of Excellence School Award from the California Association for Bilingual Education, the Fontana Unified School District announced Thursday. 

The award highlights the school’s “commitment to preparing students for college and careers through its popular dual-language immersion … program,” according to Fontana Unified. 

DHIA is one of a handful of K-6 full dual-language and International Baccalaureate-authorized schools in the country, and the Seal of Excellence is one of bilingual association’s most prestigious awards that recognizes learning institutions “for their vision of biliteracy, multicultural competency and commitment toward educational equality for all,” according to the school district. 

“The Dolores Huerta International Academy team works tirelessly to care for our students,” DHIA Principal Sandra Loudermilk said in a statement. “This accomplishment is a direct reflection of our entire staff’s dedication to preparing our students not only for school but for life through our dual-language immersion and IB PYP program.” 

DHIA will be honored at the bilingual association’s 2023 Seal of Excellence Banquet on March 24. 

“This is a tremendous honor for Dolores Huerta International Academy and the District,” Fontana Unified Superintendent Miki R. Inbody said in a statement. “The teachers, staff and administrators have built a fantastic educational program at DHIA, and this award is a well-deserved recognition of their efforts to empower every student on campus to achieve their goals.”

DHIA opened in 2016 as the district’s first dual-language immersion school with a global focus for providing elementary school students with multilingual educational options, offering both Spanish-English dual-language immersion as well as the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, according to Fontana Unified.

DHIA’s dual-language instruction “strives to ensure students meet and exceed state standards in core subjects by increasing their proficiency and strategic thinking, fostering college and career readiness, and promoting multilingualism and multiculturalism,” the school district explained. “The (Primary Years Programme) emphasizes learning through inquiry and reflection, and stresses the character-strong attributes of appreciation, cooperation and creativity, helping students develop foundational skills that are applied throughout the District’s K-12 continuum of (International Baccalaureate) programs.”

Dual-language classrooms at DHIA are purposely diversified with students who are both native English and native Spanish speakers, with kindergarten students and first graders receiving 90% of their instruction in Spanish and 10% in English, Fontana Unified reported. The amount of Spanish instruction lessens by 10% every subsequent school year until an even balance of English and Spanish is reached in fifth and sixth grade.

English-language learners get instructional support throughout a given DHIA school day, according to the school district. Teachers utilize information from students’ English Language Proficiency Assessments for California to customize their English-language development lessons and supports.  

“In addition to fostering multilingualism and multiliteracy — and providing a rigorous IB education — DHIA has also developed a robust social-emotional support program and cultivated a positive campus culture,” according to Fontana Unified. “Those efforts have earned DHIA a platinum Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports implementation award for two years in a row.”

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