Shearn Elementary School is one of 14 HISD schools launching the school year today as a dual-language campus, with instruction in both English and Spanish, and students had a special visitor this morning.
Dr. Terry Grier dropped in as the school day began to greet students and parents, and to pump up their enthusiasm for dual-language. “I sure wish we had this when I was in school,” Grier told a trio of fifth-grade school leaders who guided him on a tour of Shearn.
Marques Foster was delighted to hear about the new program. “I really want to learn Spanish,” she said. “I know it’s important to have more than one language.”
With the addition of the 14 campuses, HISD now has 32 dual-language programs, which offer foreign language immersion for English-speaking students and a bilingual program for Spanish speakers. The district has plans to turn at least half its elementary campuses into dual-language schools by 2020, and to offer courses that will be offered entirely in Spanish or in English at the middle school level.
“I would like to see us get to the point when one day we become the first school district that require all of our kids graduate from high school having the ability to be proficient in two languages,” Grier told news media who accompanied him on the tour. “It would be tremendous for an international city like ours.”
Studies have shown that children enrolled in dual-language study regularly outperform peers on standardized tests and college-entrance exams, and that they can earn up to 20 percent more in wages as adults.
HISD dual language schools are:
Current: Briscoe, Daily, DeAnda, Emerson, Helms, Herod, Herrera, Kashmere Gardens, Law, Northline, Sherman, and Twain elementary schools; Billy Reagan and Wharton K-8s; Burbank and Johnston middle schools; and Reagan High School. HISD also has a Mandarin Chinese Language Immersion Magnet School.