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Expanding dual language program expands our students’ horizons

2015 January 22
by HISD Communications

My annual first-day-of-school visit last August was to Shearn ES, and what I saw there inspired me to move forward aggressively with an important program — dual language instruction. Kindergarten youngsters — some of whom were experiencing their first day in a classroom — were being engaged completely in Spanish. Next door was another class of kindergartners, speaking all in English. At midday, the classes traded off and switched languages. All over the school were signs and colorful tidbits about cultures in two languages.

What a great way to become bilingual! Our dual language school Spanish-speakers learn English in the most natural way, and English speakers become thoroughly bilingual and biliterate. All students are taught with the same academic rigor as in regular schools, but they test better as they get older, and have a skill that increases their employability and salary potential.

This week, HISD named 20 elementary schools and one early childhood center as our newest dual language schools, joining 31 other HISD dual language campuses.

By 2020, our goal is for all our elementary schools to be dual language campuses — and eventually, I hope every HISD graduate will be fluent in two languages. It’s what our shrinking world demands.

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