SANTA ANA—Trustees on Tuesday named Wallace R. Davis Elementary School to be the Santa Ana Unified School District’s first bilingual school, meaning children will be expected to graduate literate in both English and Spanish.

Normally, the goal is to teach children in English only by the fifth grade, officials said. But now, 20% of fifth-grade instruction at Davis will be in Spanish.

Another unusual aspect of the program is that the proposal was floated not by educators but by parents from the surrounding area. Parents had argued at a previous board meeting that they wanted their children both to maintain their Latino roots and to be literate in English.

Trustees also mandated testing in the third grades at Davis for English literacy and in the fifth grade for both English and Spanish literacy, the first time that has been done in the district, Trustee Robert W. Balen said.

The new school will open by this fall on French Street.

The school board also voted to reverse an earlier decision designating it as a fundamental school, which probably would have excluded bilingual education.

“This will serve as a model for the entire district,” said Trustee Aida Espinoza.

One parent held up a sign after the meeting thanking the trustees.



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