Petaluma's newest school is Loma Vista Immersion Academy.
That is the name chosen for the Old Adobe School District's new dual immersion language school to open this fall on the campus of what was formerly Bernard Eldredge Elementary School. The school was closed in 2010, but was given new life when the Old Adobe School Board voted to move and expand its dual immersion program to the site.
"We're very excited about having a name for our own school site," said school principal Carlos Ulloa. "We believe it is a very appropriate name."
Loma Vista is a Spanish term that describes a view with beautiful hills.
"It represents the beautiful area where we're located," Ulloa said. "It captures the geographic features of our school site."
Explaining the choice of the words "immersion academy," Ulloa said, "Immersion focuses on what we do. We wanted immersion rather than dual immersion because one day we might have students in more than two languages. Academy represents our academic rigor and focus."
Old Adobe School District Superintendent Cindy Pilar explained that the process of selecting a name took more than two months and included input from district staff, teachers, students and parents. She said the district focused on three broad categories — an individual person, geographic features and the vision of the school. In the end, both top choices revolved around geographic features of the area where the Maria Drive campus is located, particularly the views of the nearby hills.
"It was a very broad and inclusive process," Pilar said. "We're excited about having a name for our school," Pilar said. "It is all about a fresh start and new beginning."
Old Adobe has offered the dual immersion program at Miwok Valley Elementary School for the last three years, but has outgrown the facilities available at that school. In November, the decision was made to reopen the Maria Drive school and make it a dual immersion only school. Currently it is a kindergarten through fifth grade program. The plan is each year to grow by one grade level until it becomes a kindergarten through eighth-grade program.
Pilar says enrollment for next year's kindergarten at Loma Vista has exceeded expectations, and there are 45 students registered with the program, with enrollment still open.
Ulloa said there may also be a few openings available in the other grades.
Meanwhile, renovation is about to begin for real on the Maria Drive school. Pilar said plans have been submitted to the State Architect and plans and financing have already been approved by the Old Adobe School District Board.
Students over the next few weeks will be charged with the fun chores of choosing a school mascot and school colors.
Loma Vista Immersion Academy is scheduled to begin classes on Aug. 21.
(Contact John Jackson at johnie.jackson@ar guscourier.com.)