Napa Valley Language Academy offers a Two-way Bilingual Immersion Program to all students beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through 6th grade. The Two-way Immersion Program is a K-8 model where both native English and native Spanish speakers have the opportunity to become fully bilingual and biliterate while making normal progress in all academic areas. The Immersion program continues in grades 7-8 at Harvest Middle School. The goals of the program are:
Students will develop high levels of proficiency in their first and second language;
Academic performance will be at or above grade level in both languages;
All students will demonstrate high levels of self-esteem and positive cross-cultural attitudes.
The Two-way Immersion instructional model is based on over 30 years of research showing that this program is the most effective method of acquiring a second language while developing your first. Students from both language groups receive most of their instruction in Spanish from kindergarten through second grade. The amount of instruction in English gradually increases each year. By third grade the day is evenly divided between Spanish and English instruction. Students learn their second language naturally, in much the same way as they learned their first. Teachers employ a variety of proven second language acquisition techniques to make content understandable to both native English speaking and native Spanish speaking children who learn side by side. Spanish and English instruction are kept separate to allow for maximum concentration on each language.
NVLA students graduate to Harvest Middle School where they receive one core subject and one elective in Spanish. Immersion students can choose from many levels of Spanish instruction in high school where they may earn college credits as early as 9th grade for taking AP (Advanced Placement) Spanish. We invite you to explore our website and learn more!
Napa Valley Language Academy, formerly Westwood Elementary School, was founded in 1949. In 1989, NVLA began offering bilingual instruction. Since 1995, NVLA has followed the Two-way Language Immersion model and is one of approximately 300 such schools in the United States. NVLA became a California Charter School in 1998 in order to continue offering its unique educational model in the aftermath of the passage of Prop. 227.
At NVLA, our students become fluent and literate in two of the world’s most widely spoken languages. Within six years, students acquire the priceless gift of dual-language fluency. Both Spanish and English speaking students are essential to the success of the program, and students learn their new language from one another while developing life-long friendships. Student’s appreciation for cultures, development of their talents and self-expression are enhanced through a focus on the Visual and Performing Arts.
The parents at NVLA participate in decision-making on all levels, volunteering for many campus committees and task forces. Parents of both language groups are required to volunteer on a regular basis, either in the classroom or in another area for a minimum of one hour a month. Parents help in the classrooms, on our fundraising committee, in the garden and science lab, library, computer lab and as representatives on our Charter Council, C.L.A.S.E. (Cultural, Language and Arts Student Enrichment) Foundation or on a parent-led task force such as “Earth Angels”. Our parents are involved with their child’s education in and out of the classroom, and have the opportunity to learn a second language along with their child through volunteering in the classroom, participating in a conversation group, or practicing Spanish as they work on projects together with Spanish speaking parents.
Free after-school enrichment programs are available to all NVLA students through the fundraising efforts of the parent-run Educational Foundation, C.L.A.S.E. Foundation The major fundraiser is a bi-annual Wine Auction held each November. The enrichment program emphasizes visual and performing arts, music, sports, science and garden, technology, literacy, and introduction to other cultures and foreign languages. NVLA’s Suzuki Violin program “Heartstrings” offers weekly lessons for all students beginning in Kindergarten. Our Ballet Folklórico troupe has performed throughout the Bay Area, and students’ artwork is on display at many Napa Valley locations