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James Orihuela

James Orihuela (CA '05)

Teacher

Cecil B. Demille Middle School
Long Beach, CA

Subject(s) taught: Spanish
Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

At the time of the Award, James Orihuela was:

Teacher
Cecil B. Demille Middle School
Long Beach, CA

Subject(s) taught: Spanish
Grade(s): 6, 7, 8


Biographical Information

Described as the "heart and soul" of Cecil B. DeMille Middle School's award-winning dual immersion program, Spanish and language arts teacher James Orihuela has dramatically improved the proficiency of his students in both Spanish and in English. One hundred percent of his students passed the Golden State Spanish Language exam over a three year period, and 96 percent passed with high honors in 2004. Taking a diagnostic and prescriptive approach to instruction, Orihuela worked with experts in English instruction to develop standards for Spanish classes that are aligned with standards for English courses. His strategies in the classroom include assigning readings from Latin American and Spanish literature and enlisting students to write and perform plays about the stories they read. Each year, Orihuela organizes a diversity talent show with prizes donated by community businesses, as well as a year-end celebration for graduates of the dual immersion program. In 2003, DeMille was one of only three schools honored for their dual immersion programs with a Seal of Excellence Award by the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE). "To help students develop their biliterate and bicultural skills is an overlooked but essential tool to compete in the global economy of the 21st century," says Orihuela.



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