ESL programs at Sunnyside now meet state requirements

2013-12-16T00:00:00Z ESL programs at Sunnyside now meet state requirementsAlexis Huicochea Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

State OKs Sunnyside English-learner plans

Sunnyside’s English-language-learner programs are now in compliance with state requirements, district officials say.

The district struggled with implementing the state-mandated immersion program model for at least four years, Assistant Superintendent Eugenia Favela

said last week.

The state-mandated, immersion-program model requires students to receive four hours of English-language development per day in a structured English immersion classroom setting with other ELL students. It was designed so most ELL students could become proficient in one year.

Sunnyside had been working for years to comply with the law, but the district finally cleared the hurdle with continued help from state officials and assistance from an independent professional-development specialist who was hired last summer, Favela said.

The district specifically focused on grammar and English conversation, two areas where it struggled the most, she said.

District officials, along with the specialist, conducted numerous site visits, coaching sessions and professional development in an effort to meet the state standards.

“Sometimes, it just takes more and more practice,” Favela said.

The Arizona Department of Education monitored eight schools from Nov. 18 to 22.

2 schools honored
for student success

Estes and Twin Peaks elementary schools in the Marana Unified School District have been recognized by the National Center for Educational Achievement as 2013 NCEA Arizona Higher Performing Schools.

The honor recognizes a school’s commitment to raising student achievement and putting more students on the path to college and career readiness regardless of socio-economic barriers or other obstacles .

These schools stand out as examples of what can be achieved when staff, students and parents work together toward a unified goal of better preparing students for life after high school, the center said.

Schools are identified based on one or both of two measures: consistent improvement in student achievement from previous years, and/or an above-predicted percentage of continuously enrolled students exceeding standards on the AIMS test.

‘Caring for Our Earth’ lessons are offered

The Postal History Foundation is offering new, free lessons for teachers and parents to use with their students.

The “Caring for Our Earth” lessons focus on recycling, solar energy, planting trees, air pollution, trash pick-up and more. The lessons are designed for two different levels — grades first through third, and third grade and above, which contains more reading and scientific information.

The “Caring for Our Earth” lessons and more than 85 others are listed online at:

Lessons can be ordered and picked up throughout the year free of charge.

Compiled by Alexis Huicochea

and Jamar Younger

Compiled by Alexis Huicochea and Jamar Younger. Contact Alexis at or 573-4175. On Twitter @AlexisHuicochea

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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