August 17, 2020
Lucilla Dávila is a couple of days away from having one of her dreams come true. A national leader in school reform through language immersion, Lucilla, a LatinoLEAD member, will celebrate years of planning and work with the Grand Opening this week of Alma Flor Ada Spanish Immersion Early Learning Academy.
Lucilla, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico who lives in Woodbury, has championed the cause of language immersion here in the Twin Cities and nationally for many years. Her experiences give her a unique perspective on what is needed to improve student outcomes in a state that consistently struggles educating Latinx and other students of color.
Lucilla and her team believe that a multi-lingual and child-centered learning environment, steeped in creativity, innovation and cultural awareness prepares youth to excel in life, global markets, education, industry and beyond.
Alma Flor Ada is launching as a comprehensive, full-day Spanish immersion academy for children ranging from 33 months to kindergarten. The year-round program will be a 90/10 Spanish immersion academic framework with interactive activities that integrate Latinx culture, music, art, dance, and language. The academy also will emphasize STEM academics (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
Lucilla says Alma Flor Ada will give children a unique and authentic opportunity to explore, build and grow. “Wherever your child’s journey takes them in the future, the gift of bilingualism will lay a foundation on which to build a brighter future,” she says.
Lucilla’s dream of opening a Spanish immersion school was ignited 15 years ago as a Woodbury parent trying to figure out the best educational options for her two children. She desperately wanted to enroll her children in a rich language immersion program like Alma Flor Ada, but that was not available in Woodbury or anywhere nearby. She finally learned about a program in a local school district, but was added to a wait list and was never contacted.
This fueled her desire and sowed the seeds for one day starting a local program. Alma Flor Ada is located in Woodbury, but will serve children from other areas of the Twin Cities. And this is just the beginning. Lucilla has a big vision to take this proven instructional model to other places across the state and region.
“The gift of knowledge doesn’t stop in the classroom. Your little one will be excited to share it all with you! When they grow, we all grow together,” says Lucilla. “At Alma Flor Ada we believe… Tu familia es nuestra familia.”
LatinoLEAD members Tamara Ramirez-Torres, director of culture, language and curriculum, and Gloria Alarcon-Bustamante, school director, bring a wealth of experience and talent to the new school.