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Spanish language instruction is offered at all grade levels as a part of the Continuous Progress Alternative Program at Vista Grande.


Established at Vista Grande in 1984, the Alternative Program is guided by a partnership of the program’s parents, educators and students with the goal of maintaining the best possible learning environment in which students can individually develop and be challenged according to their abilities and interests. The inclusion of Spanish language enrichment twice weekly in our curriculum helps achieve this goal, and supports the traditional district curriculum. 


Based on existing education research and the Alternative Program’s outcomes over its thirty year history at Vista Grande, we know that exposing children from an early age to a foreign language lays the groundwork for later language proficiency, develops communication skills and engages students, and helps to create self-confident learners.


According to The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), learning a second language in the early school years has a number of benefits, including:

  • Sets the stage for students to develop advanced proficiencies in one or more languages
  • Ability to communicate with near native-like pronunciation and intonation
  • Creates more openness and acceptance of people who speak other languages or come from other cultures
  • Enhanced cognitive development, particularly in the areas of critical thinking and problem solving, reinforcing other subject matter skill development
  • Preparation to live and work in a global society

Key components of the Alternative Program’s Spanish language enrichment program:

  • Internalization of language, rather than memorization of language, more typical of acquiring a language natively
  • Students learn through oral practice, music and movement, appropriate to the developmental needs of early learners
  • Focus on vocabulary building
  • Lessons draw from and reinforce what students are learning about in the classroom, e.g. numbers, letters, shapes, colors, seasons, history, culture.


About Sandra Isbell


Sandra Isbell has been teaching in the Alternative program since 1990.  She developed the Spanish program for grades K-5th.  She has a Standard Elementary Credential and also a Secondary Credential in Spanish.  Before coming to SRVUSD she taught Spanish in middle school in Cupertino.  She also was the foreign language department chairperson at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, where she taught Spanish 1,2,3,4 and Spanish AP.  In SRVUSD she has also taught Spanish at Tassajara, Golden View, Sycamore and Montair Elementary Schools.  She served as a Mentor Teacher for all ESL teachers in the district.  Mrs. Isbell currently teaches Spanish at Monte Vista High School also, where she often has the opportunity to teach her former Vista Grande students! 


Sandra Isbell lived in Spain in high school and later studied at the University of Madrid.  She also lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, Central and South America.  She often takes her students with her on educational and humanitarian trips!


Sandra Isbell’s goal is to make learning the Spanish language fun for her students.  She believes that learning is easy if it is fun!


To learn more about the Continuous Progress Alternative Program, please visit our program page.




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Contact Sandra Isbell  Sandra Isbell Teacher - Spanish - Alternative