Published : Monday, December 19, 2016 | 5:30 PM
It’s not every day that business leaders can go back to school. Andy Tien, the Vice President of Marketing at the Pasadena Services Federal Credit Union, was principal of Jefferson Elementary School in November as part of the Pasadena Unified School District’s Principal for a Day program. PUSD’s Principal for a Day program gives community leaders the chance to learn about local schools and spend the day learning with students. He sat down with Principal, Amin Oria, to discuss what Jefferson has planned for the holidays and beyond.
“The Principal for a Day program gives us the opportunity to connect with people outside of our school,” said Oria. “We really are a community school and see [Jefferson Elementary School] as a positive place of growing and interaction.”
Principal Oria has participated in PUSD’s Principal for a Day for the past six years and she is eager to build awareness of the programs Jefferson offers. This centrally-located public school offers Pre-K through fifth grade education as well as Transitional Kindergarten, after school programs and adult education classes for parents. Tien plans to incorporate financial literacy courses into the parent’s education classes on topics such as, credit scores, loans and budgeting.
These practical skills for parents go hand in hand with the experiential learning curriculum for Jefferson Elementary students. Oria explains that the goal at Jefferson is to provide more than just a “textbook education.” They accomplish this through walking excursions, Metro trips and visits to local institutions like the Norton Simon Museum, The Huntington Library and Kidspace Museum.
In addition to these interactive trips, Jefferson Elementary stands out for its commitment to languages and music. This year marks their first class of kindergarteners in the Spanish Dual Language Immersion Academy. This program follows a 90/10 model where teachers speak 90% Spanish and 10% English each year until the ratio evens out to 50/50 in fourth grade. Oria explains that this program helps both native and non-native Spanish speakers become bilingual and billiterate – skills that will help them later in life.
“Music is another language – one that people speak all over the world – so, to me, music education fits with the Spanish language dual immersion program,” said Oria. “It shows [students] that there are different ways to communicate.”
Jefferson students learn the language of music through a special partnership with the Pasadena Conservatory of Music – the only one of its kind in the PUSD system. This weekly music instruction allows students to learn the drums (percussion), recorder (winds) and ukulele (strings). In addition to providing a means of creative expression and a foundation for arts appreciation, these classes help students learn math, world cultures and how to collaborate in musical ensembles.
“We think of [our programs] as offering private school benefits in a PUSD school,” said Oria. “[Students] get many opportunities and receive a well-rounded education.”
For more information on Jefferson Elementary School visit www.jefferson.pusd.us. Jefferson Elementary School is located at 1500 East Villa Street. Call (626) 396 6994 for more information.
To learn more about the Pasadena Services Federal Credit Union and financial literacy classes call (877) 297-4707 or visit their website http://www.mypsfcu.org. You can also stay in touch with them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mypsfcu, Twitter: @PasadenaServFCU, and Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/pasadena-service-federal-credit-union-pasadena. Visit PSFCU’s offices at 670 N. Rosemead Blvd Pasadena, CA 91107, their Vernon branch at 2529 S. Santa Fe Ave. Vernon, CA 90058, or their Covina branch at 301 E. Rowland St. Covina, CA 91723.