Eddie Caballero, principal of Sherman Elementary, a bilingual immersion program in Sherman Heights, accomplished something never before tried in San Diego Unified. He created a successful bilingual immersion school that educates native English and Spanish speakers alike.
Bilingual immersion schools have existed in the district since the ’70s. But prior to 2008, when Sherman opened, they catered to affluent and middle-class English-speaking students whose parents wanted them to pick up another language.
Last year, 84 percent of Sherman students reclassified by the time they left fifth grade, which means they demonstrated fluency in English. Sherman students also bested district and state test score averages, upending old assumptions about what English-learning students are capable of academically.
So it surprised me, when I met with Caballero in August, that he had mixed feelings about Proposition 58, a statewide ballot measure passed by voters in November that makes it easier for schools to mount bilingual programs.