Last of three parts.
COSTA MESA — Jill Fales remembers moving to Mesa Verde three years ago and hearing neighborhood parents recite stereotypes in an effort to dissuade her from enrolling her son in the elementary school down the street.
Adams Elementary educated too many immigrant children from the city's Westside, they warned. Not enough of them spoke English at home. Classrooms were not competitive for upper-middle class children. So in heeding the advice, the mother of four filled out transfer paperwork to enroll her son at nearby Hawes Elementary, a public school in Huntington Beach. Her other three kids were already enrolled at private schools.
Then she heard there was a new principal at Adams. She met with Gabe Del Real, who spent hours explaining the 460-student campus' innovative programs, his vision and his teachers' abilities. She decided to dismiss the warnings and enroll her son Wyatt in the neighborhood school.