The award recognizes Geddes, which offers a dual-language program in Spanish, for its commitment to graduate students who are bilingual, biliterate and culturally diverse.
“We are tremendously proud of our team at Geddes for earning the Seal of Excellence,” Baldwin Park Superintendent Froilan N. Mendoza said. “It is a testimonial to the quality of Geddes’ academics and the dedication of its teachers and staff.”
Teachers at Geddes work together to develop lessons, analyze student performance data, engage parents and collaborate with other dual-language schools. Students are clustered in small instruction groups to focus on specific language needs.
Classroom cultural programs include Día de Los Muertos, Día del Niño, winter and spring performances, field trips and culturally relevant lessons. The school partners with Baldwin Park High School’s dual-language program for mentorship, a culture fair and literacy efforts.
“Dual Language is not just a program at Geddes Elementary, it is an experience for our students to progress academically while increasing their bilingual, biliterate and bicultural skills, knowledge and competencies,” Principal Irene Garcia said. “This program creates a foundation as we prepare our students for the global society they will encounter as young men and women.”
The school’s Spanish dual-language immersion program was launched in 2002-03 with 40 students in two kindergarten classes. Today, 235 of the 639 Geddes students in transitional kindergarten through fifth grade are enrolled in the dual-language program.
About half of the school’s students are English learners and nearly 90 percent come from low-income homes.
The school surpassed the state’s 800-point threshold on California’s Academic Performance Index in 2010, and remained above that level through 2013 – rising to 828 before the school quality measurement tool was retired.
Dual-language students consistently perform at comparable of above proficient levels on state tests in comparison with other students, including on the new, more rigorous Smarter Balanced Assessments in English language arts and math.
The school reports significant success in reclassifying English learners as fluent English proficient and in the acquisition of Spanish skills among its native English speakers.
In a letter announcing the award, CABE CEO Jan Gustafson-Corea praised Geddes for its commitment to educational excellence.
“CABE is proud and motivated by the work you do each day to provide your students and school community with the highest caliber of education along with a strong vision for biliteracy,” Gustafson-Corea wrote.
Baldwin Park Unified offers dual-language instruction at several other elementary and middle schools, and at two comprehensive high schools. Previous winners of the CABE Seal of Excellence include Walnut Elementary School in 2016, Olive Middle School in 2010 and Tracy Elementary School in 2005.
BPUSD_GEDDES_1: Students in Geddes Elementary School’s transitional kindergarten program take part in Día de Los Muertos as part of the school’s dual-language immersion program.