Our Educational Program

Field Work

A student taking field notes

Adelante Charter School offers a Two-Way Immersion (TWI) Spanish/English educational K-6 program committed to cultivating academic excellence in both languages, celebrating multiculturalism, innovation, creativity and the arts, while also promoting the development of a learning community in which students and adults use effective communication, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills to prepare for success in the 21st century global economy. We implement the 90:10 TWI model in which 90% of the instructional minutes are delivered in Spanish for all students in Kindergarten and 1st grade.  From 2nd -4th grades, instructional time in English increases year after year until they reach 5th– 6th grades where Spanish and English are used equally, in a 50/50 ratio.


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We provide a small-school environment with a family-like feel. Our positive school culture is supported in all classrooms through the use of the program TRIBES Learning Community. The family-school partnership is a critical component to our current and future successes. All of our families make a conscious decision to support their children as they develop into bilingual, biliterate, and multicultural learners. We provide multiple avenues of support for both English and Spanish-speaking parents. As a language-focused school, Adelante’s academic program strongly emphasizes the development of literacy: listening, speaking, reading and writing in two languages. Literacy activities are woven into all subjects in the curriculum. All classrooms support daily free voluntary reading, as well as structured language arts instruction with an emphasis on reading and writing across the curriculum. Our teachers have recently adopted Columbia University Teachers College renowned writing curriculum* across all grade levels.


Students studying chemistry in a UCSB laboratory

As we transition to the new Common Core State Standards, we continue to advance our strong curriculum in science, mathematics, technology, social studies and language arts.  Our science and mathematics* programs emphasize hands-on, student-centered learning, relevant real world problem solving, inquiry, and consistent opportunities for interaction with the natural world. Adelante provides students early exposure to and repeated experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (“STEM”) subjects to cultivate both future interest and future aptitude in the STEM* subjects.  Students at all grade levels participate in numerous fieldtrips including overnight excursions to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Wishtoyo Chumash Village and Catalina Island Marine Institute. Our sixth graders are able to cultivate their wonder of the natural world through our partnership with Wilderness Youth Project (WYP) which takes half of the class into nature every other week. Local partnerships with organizations such as UCSB’s Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Education (Kids in Nature: “KIN”), SciTrek, and Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans (“MERITO Academy”) provide field experiences where children work with researchers who serve as mentors and guide their young minds through the scientific process. Adelante promotes health, wellness, and nutrition through gardening activities and in our vigorous physical education program*. Adelante’s strong commitment to arts education is demonstrated as students train their minds and bodies with in-school dance instruction,* express their creativity in our visual arts program,* and lift their voices together in Adelante’s popular music program*.

If you are looking for a bilingual educational experience for your child that combines academic excellence with a focus on preparing your child to succeed in a global community, consider Adelante Charter School. Give us a call, or visit our campus for more information. We love to show people just how special our school is!

Our Educational Philosophy

Our ACS community believes “… the best setting for educating linguistic minority pupils – and one of the best for educating any pupil – is a school in which two languages are used without apology and where becoming proficient in both is considered a significant intellectual and cultural achievement.” (Charles L. Glenn, 1990).

We are dedicated to inspiring each child to realize his/her unique potential. Central to our educational philosophy is the belief that children learn best when:

  • There are high standards and expectations for all.
  • Students become active participants in, not mere recipients, of their education.
  • A positive school culture is developed that respects diversity and multiculturalism.
  • Parents and community are seen as essential partners.
  • The language and culture of all families are valued and embraced.
  • Students are provided a positive, respectful learning environment
  • Students take responsibility for their actions, choices and learning.
  • Collaboration and positive interaction among peers is facilitated.
  • Students are offered meaningful high quality instruction.
  • Students are given opportunities to use technology to access and share knowledge across the content areas.
  • Teachers reflect and differentiate instruction based on students needs.
  • Teachers are given time to collaborate and plan instruction based on formative assessment and student needs.
  • Teachers and staff are provided high quality professional learning to ensure they are implementing best practices and current research.

Unique Programs at Adelante

*TRIBES: Teachers are all trained in the TRIBES Learning Community and use the program to create a positive social-emotional climate in the classroom and across the school campus. Four basic agreements form the basis of this program, including attentive listening, appreciation/no put downs, mutual respect, and the right to pass. Through a variety of both personal and academic contexts, students are guided to explore their relationships with each other and create a safe and healthy environment.  Cooperation, goal-setting, and progress monitoring become group processes that ensure that everyone’s voice is valued and honored.  TRIBES is at the heart of our positive campus culture that celebrates all students and cultivates young citizens who value empathy, justice and leadership.

*Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Units of Study: Our teachers cultivate students’ passion for expressing themselves through writing. They learn to take pride in seeing themselves as authors of regularly published work. We have recently adopted Lucy Calkins’ “Units of Study” writing curriculum and the Writer’s Workshop process to strengthen and enhance our program. This is a program that has long supported many of the same goals as the new common core state standards (CCSS), and is showing great results by targeting students’ opinion/argument, information and narrative writing development across each grade level. Our writing instruction at Adelante Charter uses this research-based method with its grade-specific curriculum and pedagogy to support young writers as they develop their critical thinking skills and learn express themselves fluently in both Spanish and English.

*STEM: Adelante is committed to providing an articulated approach to developing STEM literacy K-6. Students are offered a year-long inquiry-based science and math program that incorporates project and problem-based learning which include elements of  engineering and design. Language Arts is carefully integrated into science instruction. This supports the development of evidence-based reasoning and constructing explanations which starts in Kindergarten. ACS gives special attention to developing environmental literacy, fostering curiosity and connecting children and their learning experiences to the natural world whenever possible. ACS provides students the opportunity to develop their own identity as STEM learners through these rich experiences and the practices of science, mathematics and engineering. At Adelante, teachers in grades K-6 use the Full Option Science System (“FOSS”) while 6th grade supplements this with the GEMS/OSS Ocean Science Sequence. Partnerships with different agencies, including UCSB enhances the learning opportunities for students.

*Physical Education: Adelante Charter places great importance on the value of physical education for our students. All students receive 100 minutes of PE weekly, and they engage in a variety of athletic skills development as well as playing games to build their strength, endurance, speed and agility. Naturally, our PE program is driven by teaching the value of good sportsmanship. Each class is challenged to demonstrate and maintain a high-standard of cooperative play and engagement. Students are set up for success and rewarded with more choices, challenges and new experiences.

*iCAN Visual Arts Program: Arts education is a core value at Adelante and one that has been fundamental to our school culture. We have had the great fortune of working with the Incredible Children’s Art Network (iCAN) since their founding in 2005.  The mission of iCAN is to bring high quality arts programs to children in Santa Barbara County, particularly those least likely to receive them. Through sustained creative learning opportunities that emphasize both artistic excellence and access, iCAN seeks to affect positive social change in the communities it serves. The quality of the iCAN art instruction and projects are exceptional as you can witness by visiting our art room or one of our yearly art shows. iCAN currently serves students in grades one through six, and Adelante is one of eight schools in Santa Barbara to benefit from this program. Students benefit from studying and creating art with a highly trained iCAN Teaching Artist and Art Assistant in their own dedicated room.  The great majority of students who attend Adelante Charter School are quick to list the art program as one of their peak experiences in school over the years. First-hand contact with the students in this program corroborates research: participation in the arts provides a boost to a student’s well-being and cognitive development that directly impacts their academic success in school.

Art in Kindergarten: Students in the kindergarten classes attend art class every week where they develop perceptual and visual arts vocabulary while developing creative expression. The kindergarteners will compose their first self portrait—an annual project as students of Adelante. Please note that funds raised by the PTSO support the kindergarten art class.

Music: Students learn about musical concepts and learn to play instruments that are appropriate to their grade level. Special attention is given to multicultural traditional games and songs in accordance with the mission of our school. Our school music presentations are lively events where student performances bring everyone together and amaze the audience with songs and performances they have been studying to perfection. These classes are taught by trained musician, Sandra Limón.