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’s free preschool program helps to fulfill our mission of elevating opportunities by building partnerships with families and providing age-appropriate curriculum that focuses on all children. We support school readiness by:
- Building on child’s current strengths and skills;
- Providing play-based learning opportunities;
- Encouraging active exploration;
- Supporting problem solving;
- Developing self-help skills;
- Building relationships; and
- Promoting self esteem.
- General Information
Our preschool program consists of half-day morning sessions from 8:00-11:00 AM and afternoon sessions from 12:00-3:00 PM. You can click here to learn more about the daily routine. (This routine may vary by classroom.)
Our families may qualify for our preschool programs in two manners, meeting the state and federal requirements for subsidized preschool programs (see below) or families who live in specific SJUSD attendance areas.
In order for the family to be eligible for enrollment in federal and state subsidized preschool programs and development services, families shall meet at least one requirement in each of the following areas.
Eligibility shall be established by 1, 2, 3, or 4 below:
- Family is a current aid recipient;
- Family is income eligible;
- Family is homeless; or
- Family has children who are recipients of child protective services, or are identified as at risk of being abused, neglected, or exploited
We pride ourselves on offering an ethnically diverse and culturally responsive environment for children to learn.
- How to Enroll
When an opening becomes available, you will be contacted for an in-office enrollment appointment. We will need to determine if your family is eligible for the program. These are the required documents needed to verify if you are eligible for the program, and will need to bring these documents to your enrollment appointment.
The final step in the enrollment process is submission of your child’s Physical dated within the year of the first day of school. Priority is given to 4-year olds.
San José Unified is proud to offer our preschool program at the following elementary schools:
- Allen @ Steinbeck
- Anne Darling
- Empire Gardens
- Horace Mann
- River Glen
- Low-Income Subsidy
San José Unified is excited to be participating in a pilot program to ensure that additional Santa Clara County families have access to affordable preschool. Through legislation passed September 2016, the Individualized County Childcare Subsidy Plan allows counties to determine their own eligibility criteria instead of relying on state criteria.
In Santa Clara County, a family of four with a monthly maximum income of $7,069 and a maximum annual income of $84,822 now qualifies. Previously, State Median Income figures were used of a maximum monthly income of $6,719 and an annual income of $80,623 for a family of four.
If your child is 3 years, 9 months through 4 years old, check this chart to find out if you qualify for a subsidy:
The individualized subsidy plan in Santa Clara County is modeled on similar pilot programs in San Mateo, San Francisco, and Alameda counties that proved to be effective and were made permanent. Through careful development, our county and its partners aim to address major challenges in the child care subsidy system to better meet the needs and priorities of families and providers.
San José Unified is one of ten public school districts participating in the pilot, and we need your help spreading the word. Please forward this message to any friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers with preschool-age children and encourage them to register today. For more information about the Santa Clara County Pilot, please visit the Childcare-Pilot website.
Each child must be signed in and out by their parent or authorized guardian every day on the sheets located in the classroom. A full signature and time is required. A child can be released only to those authorized people (at least 18 years old or older) designated on the Emergency Card. Identification is required.
Children must be picked up on time at the end of their session. If you are unable to pick up your child, you need to make arrangements with someone listed on your child’s emergency card to pick them up from school at the designated dismissal time. If your child is picked up late, you will be given a late pick-up notice. You will be required to meet with the Early Education Program Manager if you have received three late pick-up notices.
Absences due to illness of the child or members of the immediate family, and doctor or dentist appointments are excused. When the child returns, the sign-in sheet must be signed with the parent’s full signature for each day of the illness and brief reason for the absence (i.e. cold, flu or cough). An absence for illness that is longer than three days requires a signed doctor’s note.
Days of school missed due to family vacations or visits from family members are considered “Best Interest of the Child” (BIC) days. Only 10 BIC days are allowed within the school year. Per state guidelines, families exceeding 10 BIC days will be dropped from the program.
Early Education Department
San José Unified School District
855 Lenzen Ave.
San José, CA 95126
Hours: 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Main phone: (408) 535-6083
Transitional Kindergarten serves as a bridge between preschool and kindergarten, giving children more time for hands-on, interactive learning. “TK:” is a program with a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate. It is free and open to all age-eligible children. San José Unified does not offer Expanded TK at this time, so a child is only eligible for TK if his or her 5th birthday falls between September 2 and December 2.
TK builds on the skills children may have learned in preschool to ensure they will be able to begin kindergarten with confidence. The full-day TK environment includes opportunities for social-emotional interaction, language development, and communication through dramatic play and small group instruction. TK teachers are fully credentialled.
- Is Transitional Kindergarten offered at my neighborhood school?
TK is offered at several elementary schools located throughout the district. We do our best to place all eligible students at a school that offers a TK program. Due to the eligible number of students and available classroom space, not all of our elementary schools can offer a TK program.
- What grade will my child enter after Transitional Kindergarten?
TK is the first year of a two-year kindergarten experience. Most children will go on to kindergarten after completing TK. Some children may move to first grade if the school and family agree they are ready.
- Will Transitional Kindergarten provide support for children who do not speak English?
English Learners in TK will have the same level of services as those in kindergarten.
- Will Transitional Kindergarten provide support for children in Special Education?
Districts will be required to offer the same services to TK students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) as they currently offer to children in kindergarten.
SJUSD Enrollment Center
855 Lenzen Avenue,
San José, CA 95126
Hours: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Main phone: (408) 535-6412
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.
- 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 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.
- Hammer Montessori Magnet at Galarza
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.
- River Glen 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.
- 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
- Program Orientation
You are required to attend an orientation to TWBI before enrolling your student in the program.
- Video Tours
Ava Brough (junior), Cody Farthing (senior), Dora Hernandez (senior), and Brian Phan (junior) from Mr. Herlth’s class at Gunderson High produced short video tours for each of our five elementary school TWBI programs. To watch the tours, please click on the links below.
Gardner Elementary (produced by Brian Phan)
Merritt Trace Elementary (produced by Ava Brough)
River Glen (produced by Cody Farthing)
Walter L. Bachrodt Elementary (produced by Dora Hernandez)
Willow Glen Elementary (produced by Cody Farthing)
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 nine 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
- Anne Darling
- Empire Gardens
- 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.