El Sol Elementary is a little gem in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. I’ve been an involved parent for 7+ years and have had 2 daughters attend. My 13 year old loved the second language and is one of the top 5 academically talented students in her 8th grade and will earn college credits for Spanish when she attends High School. My 3rd grader doesn’t care as much about the Spanish piece but does very well in all of the core subjects. The teachers and staff are dependable and caring – the parents and families of the students are the hardest working people you will find. The building has not been in the best condition as it is old but giving up aesthetics for the cultural experience was a no-brainer for us. The student body, as a whole, tends to be more innocent and less sophisticated than students at other upper elementary schools (less of the boyfriend/girlfriend stuff.) The principle addresses this towards the end of 5th grade so that we aren't shocked when they get into the much bigger Middle Schools. The community has heard about El Sol and there is now a wait list to get in !! It is the perfect school for your children to learn acceptance of all people and their traditions!
El Sol is a cesspool of bullying which the administration is very aware of, but unwilling (or unable) to address in an effective way. Who really believes a scared 5 year old, who's been getting bullied for weeks, is really worried about an office referral? How can a program based on multiculturalism not have the ability to create cohesive classroom families where kids feel connected and responsible to each other? "El Sol, where you kid can learn to bully in two languages!"
This is school is great in theory. Their model for teaching kids with a multicultural model is amazing and at any other school would be perfect. However, it seems quite clear that the staff is overwhelmed and they have yet to establish good communication with parents. Bullying at this school is a BIG BIG problem. If your kids are not with the "in-crowd" of kids which consist of the kids of staff, then often times they will be overlooked. The only way to ensure your child is getting a well rounded education is to be there all day every day, which some parents do. For those of us who cannot afford to do so, well our kids suffer in the process. They have a lot of work to do, but I think that with time (years perhaps) they could become a top notch school.
This school helps all kids become bilingual in English and Spanish. We love the multiculturalism and diversity that El Sol offers our kids. The teachers and staff care about all kids and it's obvious in the supportive, community feel of the school.
I have two sons at El Sol Elementary and could not be happier with the education they are receiving. The El Sol community is exactly that, a community. The teachers and other staff are accessible, reachable and are always willing to talk to me about my children's progress. I have been very happy with all of the teachers my students have had. One concern I feel needs to be addressed is the history of turnover at the principal position. The school has been in existence for 6 years ans we are currently on our third principal. I hope this trend does not continue as stability in this position is necessary for the school to continue to thrive.
Our eldest child is currently in 5th and our youngest in Kgarten. We have been a part of this school since the beginning. The teachers are the best - so full of heart and so flexible when it comes to individual needs. The school is diverse in race and class, and that is embraced! How refreshing! If you are a parent that is unwilling to pitch in and be a part of supporting this community, I imagine you will be unhappy - the school environment is truly a family. For those that are, you will be rewarded tenfold. Los profesores son muy buenos y los padres a trabajar duro juntos. como padre, debe trabajar para mantener a su hijo y estar abierto a nuevas relaciones. Esta es una gran escuela! Y, los padres nessecitamos espanol! El Sol is a unique and special place, and I recommend it everyone I know. Thank you, El Sol!
El Sol is a wonderful school. It is a dual language school where students are taught in English and in Spanish. Students at this school are very accepting of one another because they all know what it feels like to not understand something, and there is very little attrition here (kids don't move in and out of this school). I agree that the class sizes are large, but that's a state-wide norm. I have several years of experience at this school and have worked with many other schools. This is without a doubt one of the best schools I've ever worked with. The teachers have high expectations for students and they work hard to make the school great. As for the whole family working there comment, that just isn't true. There were some people who got hired as support staff because they heard about it from a relative who worked here but they were / are fully qualified and they do great work, so what does that matter? El Sol is a great school. Come see for yourself!!!
The program is great, unfortunately the staff is not. I can't believe how in the world an entire family works for the school. The father, the wife, the daughter and the son all working at the same place? this can't be equal. There'a are too many kids per teacher (more than 20) so that makes impossible to provide the attention they really need. There are tons of parents and volunteers always in the classrooms of course looking after their own child, some parent said: "if you want your kid be treated right you have to be at the school everyday" and that's just inconceivable. They need to invest in more teachers and less "fiestas".