When Houston ISD doubled its dual language programs to include 28 schools this August, that was just the beginning of district’s commitment to making sure students on those campuses become bilingual and biliterate.
Representatives of HISD’s Multilingual Programs Department have visited each school to evaluate instructional practices and to offer support for principals and teachers to embed language instruction into strong academic content. Native Spanish-speakers learn English, and English speakers gain a second language through immersion.
Steve Guerrero, principal at Coop ES, is a big fan of dual language learning. “Our students don’t lose a language and then gain one,” he explained. “All students are gaining something and enriching themselves to get it.”
Jacqueline Parnell, principal at Osborne ES, echoes his support. “The goal is to make our students more marketable in a global economy — plus in the plain old USA,” she said.
So effective is the program that HISD is again doubling it in the 2015-2016 school year. Twenty-eight new dual language elementary programs will be announced in January.
HISD’s language programs are just one of many magnet and school choice programs families have to choose from. See more here about dual language programs and the support team’s visits.