Legacy of Edward Hyatt continues with SJUSD and Riverside County’s new bilingual program
■ San Jacinto Unified School District / Contributed
In recognition of “San Jacinto Heritage Month” in October, San Jacinto Unified announced the opening of the new “Edward Hyatt Dual Immersion Academy” eventually serving students from preschool through eighth grade. For the 2019-2020 school year, the academy will offer preschool through fifth grade. The Edward Hyatt Dual Immersion Academy will be the first all-dual language immersion school in Riverside County.
Edward Hyatt was the first teacher and principal in San Jacinto in 1884, and was elected to serve as the county superintendent ten years later. As a leader in education, Mr. Hyatt was an equity champion as he was the first educational leader to ensure girls had the same access to physical education opportunities as boys, and he changed the financing for public schools so that all students had textbooks. “His legacy lives on in San Jacinto with one of our oldest elementary schools named after him since its construction in 1961, and will now reflect his commitment to equity through the dual language immersion academy,” said Diane Perez, SJUSD Superintendent.
In 2014, SJUSD began the first dual language immersion program in the valley, with the mission to develop bilingualism and biliteracy in English and a second language, also known as a “DI” program. The district selected Spanish as the second language and the program was piloted at Megan Cope Elementary with the opening of two DI kindergarten classes. Each year since the initial class, an additional new kindergarten class has been added and the previous year students advance in grades. Currently, there are three classes each for kindergarten through third grade as well as two fourth grade classes.
Last December, the district issued letters to Hyatt Elementary and Megan Cope Elementary parents about the configuration of elementary schools, noting Hyatt’s declining enrollment and Megan Cope’s overcrowding. Parent and staff meetings were held to answer questions about the transition of the DI program. In January, Hyatt families were invited to join the Hyatt Elementary School Boundary Realignment Committee formed to determine new home schools for current Hyatt students not part of the DI program.
“Edward Hyatt went on from his work in San Jacinto to become the California Superintendent of Schools that changed the financial structure for funds to be set aside for schools and textbooks,” noted Seth Heeren SJUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. “The mission of our DI program is to prepare our students to be academically, linguistically and socially advanced to be college and career ready – the very things Mr. Hyatt worked his entire career to ensure happened,” he said.
For more information about the DI program visit the SJUSD website at www.sanjacinto.k12.ca.us and an overview of the legacy of Edward Hyatt at www.ehes.sanjacinto.k12.ca.us.