It was raining so hard this morning when we drove to Pickle Elementary that I thought we'd end up swimming there, but I was eager to meet the Pickle Penguins so we set out in a downpour. Penguins are good swimmers, so I knew the Pickle crew could rescue us if we made it to their neighborhood in the St. Johns community. Luckily, our car stay grounded — no swimming was required — and I had a wonderful time visiting the outstanding students and teachers at Pickle.
We were greeted by Principal Joel De La Garza, along with the school choir singing, The Future Begins with Us — an inspiring message for young people! Choir teacher Mary Karah has done a wonderful job in developing the musical talents of her third through fifth grade students. Next, I learned that "Pickle Pride is deep inside each one of us," as the youngsters sang the school song. An adorable group of cheerleaders (Have I ever mentioned that I love cheerleaders?) then revved up some Pickle spirit with a couple of cheers. It was a rousing welcome all around.
|Lucky me! With a TOP and a TOY!|
Pickle is one of our Two-Way Dual Language pilot schools so I was eager to observe in a classroom of pre-kindergarten youngsters. In Two-Way DL, students learn in both English and Spanish. Skills in both languages are developed simultaneously, and I was impressed watching these little ones flow seamlessly between English and Spanish in a science lesson about sea life, and a math lesson in counting. Teacher Susana Guzman-Ortega interacted with students in both languages, and the children stayed right with her through both lessons. Two-Way Dual Language was begun this year in preK and kindergarten. Next year, it will "grow" into first grade, and be expanded from four schools to six. We also offer One-Way DL at all elementaries which offer bilingual services.
My time at Pickle flew by and I had to say goodbye. Thanks, Penguins, big and small, for a great time. Stay dry today!