Best curricular activity (2000)
Escuela Guadalupe is a small private endeavor developed under the wing of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, itself a cast-iron anchor in the midst of a community torn by poverty and struggle. The school debuted last year, catering only to students in kindergarten through grade two. But small isn't necessarily problematic; in fact, it's the escuela's saving grace: Offering straightforward bilingual education in intimate, uncrowded classrooms with help from parents, who are required to volunteer a certain number of hours to the school annually, its goal is to challenge students without compromising their ability to learn. Next fall, the plan is to begin adding grades as the original student body matures, giving kids who might have been chewed up and spit out in the public schools a chance to excel all the way up to the eighth grade. ¡Viva la escuela!