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News Item: Homepage

Grapevine Elementary P-3 Program Closing Learning Gaps


by Michelle Sybert

On a crisp November morning, Principal Rafael Olavide greets students outside Grapevine Elementary School. It’s there he sees a familiar former Grapevine student dropping off her kindergartener for the day. Principal Olavide says that scene is not uncommon at Grapevine. There is a strong family presence. Roots run deep in Grapevine’s tight knit community.


“We have seen a tradition of families coming to our school. It would not be a surprise to see a student being picked up by Grandpa who actually was a student here back in the day,” says Olavide. This multi-generational tradition provides Grapevine the opportunity to build long-term lasting relationships with families and trust with parents and family members.


Grapevine serves the community as one of the oldest elementary schools in the Vista Unified School District, having been around for more than 50 years. Grapevine has strong and deeply woven roots in the neighborhood. Under the leadership of Principal Olavide over the last six years and the school’s partnership with Educational Enrichment Systems preschool program (EES), Grapevine is a also leader in early childhood education.


The preschool program at Grapevine falls under the umbrella of VUSD’s P-3 plan. P-3 stands for Preschool to 3rd grade and it’s the idea that providing students with a strong foundation during early education leads to children becoming competent readers bridging the gap between learning to read and reading to learn. Olavide shares that children who have had some amount of formal education in preschool (both academic and social-emotional) benefit them as they enter kindergarten.


“We know we are going to see those students (who have attended preschool) closing the academic achievement gap faster,” says Olavide. “That’s why in our school community we have a preschool model that’s very integrated with the rest of the learning environment. It is critical that we have the foundation to build up students before they enter kindergarten.”


Right now half of Grapevine’s students have attended preschool. Principal Olavide’s goal? One hundred percent. He’d like to see every single kindergartener that walks through Grapevine’s doors have access to and attend preschool to give them those cornerstone skills in language, literacy and numeracy that are essential for success.


To reach that goal, the Grapevine kindergarten team works with educational partner EES staff in what’s call a “vertical collaboration” to ensure each student who transitions from preschool to kindergarten is on a pathway to success. There are also regular meetings between Principal Olavide and the preschool site director at Grapevine. “There are many levels of communication that happen between us and the preschool,” says Olavide.


Preschool families are also encouraged to participate in activities and to be involved in the process. There are opportunities for parents to volunteer, visit and see first hand how their children are learning and interacting. Participation from families is seamless from preschool to kindergarten as a result of the foundation of trust that Grapevine continues build day in and day out.


The school’s comprehensive approach to early childhood education is seeing success. Next up for Grapevine is the promising dual immersion program that will immerse students in both Spanish and English language environments to develop not only bilingual students but also fully bi-literate students, which is an asset in today’s diverse global community.



Posted by: Lisa Contreras, District Admin, Vista Unified School District Published:11/30/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage