Written by: Juntos students, families, and staff
This June, we will celebrate a historical moment in the Sunnyvale School District. We will shout “¡Felicitaciones!” to the first-ever graduating cohort of the Two-Way Spanish English Dual Immersion program at San Miguel Elementary School. In many ways this class and their families helped shape Juntos, transforming it from a hypothetical vision into a fully-functioning program with 236 emerging bilingual and biliterate students. Every graduating Juntos cohort will owe part of their Juntos experience to the 43 students in the Class of 2021. The amazing success of the first cohort of Juntos students would not have been possible without their families. These brave and committed families were visualizing 5th grade graduation when they enrolled their students in Juntos kindergarten 6 years ago. They were resilient, patient, and supportive as the Juntos Program developed with each grade level their students completed.
The students are very proud of their many accomplishments. Most notably, they are proud of:
- What we accomplished, all of us. We went through the program for 6 years without giving up, even if we did doubt ourselves.
- The Juntos Program is very beneficial. For example, it’s easier for me to communicate with most of my family members.
- I can talk to my family more than if I did not go to Juntos.
- We’re the luckiest students in the school because passing every grade of Juntos is an inspiration for others.
- My expression in any language, all welcome
- We know how to speak two languages!
- I am most proud to be a Spanish speaking black person.
- Being able to say that I can speak two languages and with that, I can also help people learn Spanish.
- Being Bilingual – having the opportunity to speak with different language speakers.
When asked what they would do in the world now that they are bilingual and biliterate, they said:
- Be an international defense attorney and lawyer for people that don’t speak English.
- Help more people if they don’t know how to speak English or Spanish
- Have any job because I know both languages
- As I think about it, I already have a Job that includes being bilingual. I help my dad communicate with Spanish speakers at his job. Which is really fun, and helpful.
- Go to Spanish speaking countries
- Be a soccer and basketball player.
- I want to stay in the USA and live a regular life.
When asked what they wanted to share with incoming Juntos students and families, they said:
- Welcome, amigo. 🙂
- The Juntos program is a community of people that doesn’t separate and you will always be together and not alone.
- You won’t regret going into Juntos because what you learn will stick with you forever.
- It will be and feel hard at first but it will get better and is worth the effort! Don’t give up! Study hard!
- You will learn about friendship, different cultures, experiences, and lifestyles from people all around the world. It helps you understand other cultures and make more friends from different cultures.
- You learn a lot of Spanish and you can communicate with more people. Come to Juntos because it’s fun to learn other languages so you don’t have just one; instead, a lot more.
- You get amazing, helpful, kind and fun teachers that will help you through anything that you don’t understand, or anything really. They are great teachers in English and Spanish.
- San Miguel is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One parent shared, “The Juntos program was everything we wished for and more. With both my husband and I being first generation born in the United States from immigrant parents, it was very important for our children to continue our native tongue. Not only can my children speak Spanish, they also read and write it. They even teach us the correct words. Thanks to the Juntos program, our second generation born in the United States will continue to speak Spanish and communicate with others in our native tongue. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for this great program!” Two other parents want incoming students and families to know that it is “an awesome program with awesome teachers. We always talk about how awesome the teachers are.” Finally, “even though it might feel like a big risk, with big risks come big rewards!”
The San Miguel staff is so proud of the accomplishments of each and every student on their pathway towards biliteracy and bilingualism. They have worked so hard to become bilingual and biliterate. We are amazed by the way they leverage both of their languages to have such rich conversations.
We picked the name ‘Juntos’, meaning together, because we believe that only together can we make the world a better place. You are gifts to our world. You give us all hope. We look forward to seeing you continue to be Juntos leaders at Columbia Middle–where the program will continue through eighth grade–and beyond! Congratulations to the Juntos Class of 2021 and their families!