I have two children in the Spanish program 3rd and 5th graders. For us Jones has been a mixed bag. I love the experience in learning a different language and culture. However I feel lost as a parent sometimes. I try to communicate with the teachers and because I don't speak Spanish and English is not the first language for many of the teachers I have a hard time understanding the teachers at times. I don't like that fact that my children are becoming fluent in Spanish but I wish they would do more to help the parent understand what they are teaching.
While the Spanish is a terrific opportunity and well executed, it's also the "hook" that drew us to a great school. The principal wonderfully serves two school populations.. The traditional portion of the school is called the Neighborhood Leadership Program- giving the non-immersion students pride and group identity. The library has the highest circulation in the county. The art teacher is a top teachers in the county and the culture teacher is especially engaging and beloved. It is socially, culturally and economically diverse. Warnersville while rough in spots, takes a great deal of pride in its school. The school uses the Warnersville Rec Center so there are great spaces to play. As for the immersion program: The parents self-select an environment where they know their involvement will be necessarily higher. The PTA is very active. Only K and a few 1st grade students may enroll. Students not keeping up must transfer out. By 5th grade, only 2 immersion classrooms of high performing students are left. Teachers are native speakers and have often won awards in their countries to teach in the US. My children have teachers from Columbia, Uraguay, Chile, and Puerto Rico.
We send our kids in the Spanish Immersion magnet program. By Kindergarten, they all understand Spanish. By 2nd grade they learn English. 2nd grade is challenging. 3rd is more intense as the students are expected to take control of their own work. Among the Spanish immersion kids, the EOG passing rate is 100% or pretty close. So not only do these kids outperform the average NC kid in math, but English as well. It is a tough concept for some parents to grasp, that these kids learn Spanish first and English later, but it works (and research backs this up that bilingualism is a path to success). All teachers, in both Spanish and traditional English are great. Admin and leadership exceeds expectations. If you live in the county and you want your kid to learn Spanish, this is a must. PTA is great, they do lots of stuff year round. The wealthy parents donate a lot to the school. I know of one parent who had a "terrible experience" with the school and I also know that parent to be a complete basket case. So if you, as a parent are not willing to interact with your child, help with homework, and get your kid to school on time, this is not your school.
My son has been in Jones' Spanish Immersion program since Kindergarten and is fluent in Spanish. The teachers are a treasure, He is now in second grade and his teacher this year is THE BEST he has had since being at the school. This speaks volumes given the commitment all teachers have to students. We are proud to call David D. Jones our son's school home!
Our children our immersed in Spanish from the 1st day of kindergarten. This is done in a way that is not frustrating to the kids. It's amazing how quickly young minds can absorb a foreign language. The teachers are devoted to the kids. I love the diversity there and the focus on reading.