San José Unified is a nimble educational resource, providing the inspiration, tools, and guidance each student needs to become an active and engaged lifelong learner.
- Lifelong learning starts with an unstoppable curiosity about the world around us;
- Every student has the right to be inspired, excited, and successful at learning;
- The right tools make even the most challenging obstacles surmountable; and
- There are as many paths to education as there are students.
San José Unified previously offered preschool programs to families who lived within specific school boundaries or met financial eligibility requirements. For the 2022-2023 school year, we will be expanding our transitional kindergarten program significantly, offering more students a full day of transitional kindergarten as a replacement for our half day preschool programs.
Students who will not turn 4 by September 1, 2022 may be eligible for several preschool programs offered by the Santa Clara County Office of Education. To learn more about the county’s programs, please visit their website.
Transitional Kindergarten (TK) offers 4-year old students an opportunity to build skills they will need for kindergarten through hands-on, interactive learning. Our TK curriculum is designed to provide a social and academic foundation to prepare students for kindergarten. TK is a full-day program offered at our elementary schools, giving our youngest students the opportunity to get to know the school campus and school staff, practice routines and social skills, and learn to work collaboratively with other students through dramatic play and small group instruction. TK teachers are fully credentialed in accordance with California credentialing requirements.
Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, we are expanding our TK program to provide additional capacity so we can serve more students. TK is free for students and open to all eligible children.
Check whether your child meets one of the criteria to qualify for TK enrollment
Transitional Kindergarten A full day program for 4-year-olds
Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Parent Information Sessions
Parents who are planning to register their children for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) in the San José Unified School District (for the 2023-24 school year) are encouraged to watch the recording of the virtual parent informational session.
Watch the recording from the virtual TK Parent Information Session on January 17, 2023.
- Is Transitional Kindergarten available at all San José Unified schools?
TK is offered at many of our elementary schools based on enrollment. We do our best to place all eligible students at their neighborhood school if a program is available at the school. If we are unable to place a student at their neighborhood school, we do our best to offer a close alternative to families. TK is not offered at our magnet elementary schools, including River Glen K-8, Hacienda Science/Environmental Magnet, and Hammer Montessori at Galarza Elementary.
- Can my child enter the lottery to attend TK at a magnet school?
We do not offer TK at our magnet schools. Families who are interested in a magnet school can enter the lottery for kindergarten placement.
- Can I request enrollment in a Two-Way Bilingual Immersion (TWBI) or Academic Language Acquisition (ALA) program for TK?
You may request TWBI or ALA for your child for TK. We have limited capacity for these programs and may be unable to fulfill your request. Your child will still be eligible for the TWBI or ALA programs for kindergarten if they do not enter these programs in TK.
- What grade will my child enter after Transitional Kindergarten?
Students who complete transitional kindergarten will enter kindergarten in the next school year.
- Do TK classes provide support for children who are learning English?
Yes. We offer the same supports for English Learners that we offer in our elementary schools.
- Do TK classes provide support for children with special needs?
Yes. We offer the same support for children with special needs in TK as we do in our elementary schools. Eligible students have their supports defined in the student’s individualized education program (IEP).
- How do I enroll my student in TK?
TK students are enrolled through our Enrollment Center. Visit our enrollment page to learn more.
Our families discover an innovative district offering a variety of programs for students at all levels. We believe that students succeed when they’re given opportunities to excel. That’s why we’re proud to offer magnet programs at three of our elementary schools. Students are assigned to our magnet schools based on a lottery during the annual enrollment process. There is no Inter-district approval for magnet school lottery.
In order to make an informed decision, parents are required to attend an orientation meeting prior to choosing Hammer or River Glen on the selection form.
The orientation meeting schedule for each school can be found below.
- Elementary Magnet Lottery
Students who participate in the magnet lottery will be enrolled in their neighborhood school while the lottery is in progress. The lottery is divided into two phases.
To enter the lottery for Phase 1, your student’s registration must be completed during the regular enrollment window. Applications will be processed on a random, computerized basis. All applications received after the regular enrollment window will be entered into the Phase 2 lottery.
If more students apply for a magnet school than that school is able to serve, the District will assign students to the school on a random basis, taking into consideration the instructional capacity of the school, Voluntary Integration Plan, and students who have a sibling attending the school and who will continue to attend the following year.
Students who do not receive a spot in their first-choice magnet school will be placed on a wait list for that school. A random, computerized process establishes these wait lists.
- Hacienda Environmental/Science Elementary (environmental/science magnet)
Hacienda Elementary is a California Distinguished School dedicated to teaching students to explore the natural world around them. It offers a unique, one-acre outdoor classroom site featuring California native plants and pond communities.
All students study science with a resource teacher as well as with the classroom teachers. Staff emphasizes academic achievement in the classroom through specialized instruction in science, including scheduled indoor and outdoor laboratory lessons. A balanced music program is accommodated by an extended day.
Hacienda has a strong literacy program that encompasses the Accelerated Reading Program. Students in grades K-2 spend time each week in the computer lab working on English/language arts and mathematics, while grades 3-5 use the laptop cart to support instruction in their classrooms.
Families interested in enrolling in Hacienda are encouraged to attend a virtual informational session prior to enrollment.
Jan 26 at 9:30 a.m. – In-person Magnet Information Session and Tour at Hacienda Science/Environmental Magnet
Jan 26 at 6:30 p.m. – Virtual Magnet Information Session and Tour for Hacienda Science/Environmental Magnet
Jan 27 at 9:30 a.m. – In-person Magnet Information Session and Tour at Hacienda Science/Environmental Magnet
- Hammer Montessori at Galarza Elementary (Montessori magnet)
Hammer Montessori strives to empower all students to develop strategies to gain the knowledge, skills, and values needed to participate meaningfully in our diverse and global society. The Montessori classroom is divided into special learning areas that include practical life, sensorial, language arts, mathematics, geography, history, science, and the arts. Each classroom learning environment is prepared to meet the academic and social needs of each child.
Hammer specializes in individual and small group instruction. Uniquely designed and sequenced hands-on materials help isolate skills and lead the child through the curriculum. Teachers help children choose challenging materials to discover underlying concepts, which leads to mastery of skills.
Parents support lunchtime activities such as garden club, soccer club, Spanish club, and Fun Fridays. The Hammer Montessori Foundation provides support for Starting Arts, visual arts classes, ABC Readers, field trips, assemblies and family events. Our after school programs include robotics, chess, Spanish, and band.
Families interested in enrolling in Hammer are required to attend a virtual informational session prior to enrollment.
Virtual Open House for Prospective Students
Thursday, January 19, 2023, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Thursday, February 16, 2023, 6:00 - 7:00 pm
Thursday, March 16, 2023, 11:00am - 12:00 pm
- River Glen K-8 (two-way bilingual immersion magnet)
River Glen’s TWBI program offers K-8 students the unique and exciting opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills in all academic subjects and the arts, while developing proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking in two languages, Spanish and English. Our goal is to educate students to be bilingual, biliterate and bicultural and to enable them to meet the challenges of a global society.
Every student, staff member, and parent is involved in the immersion program and its philosophy. The development of fluency and literacy in two languages requires a nine-year time frame of continuous participation in the immersion program. Enrollment occurs primarily at the kindergarten level. In order to make an informed decision, parents are required to attend an orientation meeting prior to choosing River Glen on the selection form.
River Glen has received a national award of Academic Excellence, is a California Distinguished School, and was featured as a national exemplary program by the U.S. Department of Education.
The Structured English Immersion Program (SEI) is the initial language program for all English Learners whose parents have not requested another bilingual program (see below). All elementary schools in San José Unified have at least one SEI classroom at each grade level. In schools with higher populations of English Learners, a designated ELD class is provided to target the needs of students at similar proficiency levels.
Teachers focus on English language development (ELD) and Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE). They modify their instruction and employ strategies to make the core content comprehensible for English Learners, and to help them maintain grade level competency and acquire English as quickly as possible.
Download our bilingual programs brochure
- Assessment Requirement
In an effort to maximize instructional time and to provide improved opportunities to monitor progress across programs and language groups, the district has made adjustments in the assessment requirements at the elementary level. Click here to view a table of the requirements.
- Process for Responding to Parent Request for Additional Language Acquisition Programs
Parents or legal guardians of pupils enrolled in the school may choose a language acquisition program that best suits their child pursuant to this section. Schools in which the parents or legal guardians of 30 pupils or more per school or the parents or legal guardians of 20 pupils or more in any grade request a language acquisition program that is designed to provide language instruction shall be required to offer such a program to the extent possible, based upon the requirements of Section 305. Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) staff will monitor the requests and will instigate a feasibility assessment when the target number of written requests are received.
The written request from a parent must include the following:
- The date of the request
- The names of the parent and pupil
- A general description of the request (ALA, TWBI - Language)
- The pupil’s grade level on the date of the request
When the parents of 30 pupils or more enrolled in a school, or when the parents of 20 pupils or more in the same grade level enrolled in a school, request the same or substantially similar type of language acquisition program, the LEA shall respond by taking the following actions:
- Within 10 school days of reaching a threshold described above, notify the parents of pupils attending the school, the school’s teachers, administrators, and DELAC, in writing, of the parents’ request for a language acquisition program;
- Identify costs and resources necessary to implement any new language acquisition program, including but not limited to certificated teachers with the appropriate authorizations, necessary instructional materials, pertinent professional development for the proposed program, and opportunities for parent and community engagement to support the proposed program goals; and
- Determine, within 60 calendar days of reaching a threshold described above, whether it is possible to implement the requested language acquisition program; and provide notice, in writing, to parents of pupils attending the school, the school’s teachers, and administrators, of its determination;
- In the case of an affirmative decision to implement a language acquisition program at the school, create and publish a reasonable timeline of actions necessary to implement the language acquisition program.
- In the case where the LEA determines it is not possible to implement a language acquisition program requested by parents, the LEA shall provide in written form an explanation of the reason(s) the program cannot be provided and may offer an alternative option that can be implemented at the school.
Two-Way Bilingual Immersion (TWBI)
Two-Way Bilingual Immersion (TWBI) education has been part of San José Unified for 30 years. In our TWBI program, students develop dual language proficiency by receiving instruction in both English and Spanish in a classroom that is usually comprised of half native Spanish speakers and half native English speakers.
Two-way programs provide both sets of students with ample exposure to the two languages, one language at a time, allowing them to progress and attain academic excellence in both languages while gaining an appreciation for another culture and developing mastery of grade-level content standards.
Program participants and their families are expected to make a minimum commitment of six years (Kindergarten through 5th grade) to fully benefit from the Two-Way Bilingual Immersion model.
- Program Goals
- Develop fluency in communication and literacy in two languages, Spanish and English.
- Acquire knowledge in all academic subjects as outlined by the National Common Core Academic Standards.
- Cultivate understanding and appreciation of other cultures, inspire self-esteem, and strengthen positive attitudes among students, their families and the community.
- Our TWBI Schools
Merritt Trace Elementary
Walter L. Bachrodt Elementary
Willow Glen Elementary
Herbert Hoover Middle
Willow Glen Middle
Abraham Lincoln High
Willow Glen High
- Program Orientation
Families who wish to enroll in a TWBI program are required to attend a virtual information session prior to enrollment. The following sessions are available for the 2024-2025 school year:
- Tuesday, December 12, 2023 - 6:00-7:00pm: English Presentation
- Wednesday, December 13, 2023 - 6:00-7:00pm: Spanish Presentation
- Wednesday, January 10, 2024 - 6:00-7:00pm: English Presentation
- Tuesday, January 16, 2024 - 6:00-7:00pm: Spanish Presentation
- Wednesday, February 7, 2024 - 6:00-7:00pm: English Presentation
- Friday, March 1, 2024 - 9:00-10:00am: English Presentation
- Wednesday, March 6, 2024 - 6:00-7:00pm: English Presentation
Academic Language Acquisition (ALA)
San José Unified’s innovative Academic Language Acquisition (or ALA) program was developed to help Spanish-speaking students accelerate their English language development while also improving their native language literacy.
Students participate from transitional kindergarten (TK) through 3rd grade, with increasing ratios of English language instruction year over year. Academic progress is monitored to ensure a mastery of grade-level content standards; and language development is monitored to ensure students are on track to transition into a structured English Immersion (SEI) classroom by 4th grade.
The ALA program is currently offered at four of our elementary schools, but any student living within district boundaries can apply.
- How does it work?
Your student’s academic progress is monitored to ensure mastery of grade-level content standards. English Language Development progress is monitored as they move toward reclassification.
- TK to 1st Grade (75% Spanish; 25% English) – English Learners in this program are required to meet grade level standards in reading and writing in Spanish. Students receive English Language Development daily.
- 2nd grade (70% Spanish; 30% English) – Students receive an additional 30 minutes of English Language Development daily focusing on English phonics.
- 3rd grade (60% Spanish; 40% English) – Students transition into English literacy. Social studies and mathematics are taught in their primary language.
- 4th and 5th grade (100% English) – Students are fully immersed in a Structured English Immersion (SEI) classroom.
- ALA schools are staffed with one teacher holding BCLAD authorization, or the equivalent, at the 4th and 5th grade levels to ensure support for SEI students in their transition to English.
- Our ALA Schools
- Horace Mann
- Program Orientation
We encourage you to attend an orientation to ALA before enrolling your student in the program. Orientations generally occur in January. Please check this space for a schedule.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Program
The goal of the International Baccalaureate program is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. Three of our San José Unified schools are International Baccalaureate World Schools: Horace Mann Elementary, Muwekma Ohlone Middle, and San José High.
The IB program has 10 attributes that are a key component of the program:
Most countries have IB World Schools, and the program is the same throughout the world. To learn more about the International Baccalaureate program, please visit the www.ibo.org.
Silicon Valley Career Technical Education
Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE) offers state-of-the art programs taught by industry professionals who engage students in rigorous, real-world academics and skills development designed to support their success through college and in their future careers.
SVCTE offers courses within 12 industry sectors, where 11th and 12th graders can explore and develop technical skills that will lead them to higher education or into the workplace. At least a dozen courses meet UC “A-G” requirements.
SVCTE students remain enrolled at their home high school and are required to attend classes there every day. Free transportation is available. Students may also drive or be transported to campus.
- Course Credits
SVCTE students earn high school and college credits through hands-on training. Students must enroll in either a morning session (two-hour daily program) or an afternoon session (three-hour daily program).
SVCTE serves students from 32 high schools in six school districts. Classes are designed specifically for high school students. Adults may register as space is available.
- Learn more and enroll
For more information about SVCTE, students are encouraged to visit their website or contact their home school career/college counselor or follow the links below.