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Dual language program offerings triple for upcoming school year

Dual LanguageDr. Olivia Hernández, assistant superintendent for Bilingual/ESL and Migrant Department, conducts a training session with a group of principals during a dual language workshop July 17, 2018.

In the 2018-2019 school year, SAISD is expanding its dual language offerings and adding programs at an additional 32 campuses, bringing the total to 45 campuses. In the 2017-2018 school year, dual language programs were offered at 13 schools throughout the District, compared to only two schools offering programs the year before. With the expanded offerings, including the District’s second, 100-percent dual language campus, dual language programs at SAISD have grown by 2,000 percent since 2016.

“Principals and schools are interested in dual language because the program is an enrichment model; it is not a remedial model compared to the transitional bilingual program used in the 1960s and ’70s,” said Dr. Olivia Hernández, assistant superintendent for Bilingual/ESL and Migrant Department. “In the District’s dual language program, our students are not only acquiring a second language, they are also reaping the benefits of developing their native language.”

Dual language education is proven to develop higher levels of self-esteem in students and expand student worldviews to include knowledge of and respect for different customs, experiences, and cultures. Dual language programs are the only bilingual programs, that when well implemented, fully close the achievement gap between English Learners and Native English Speakers. Additionally, one of the most important benefits of dual language education is that the students who go through the program gain enhanced cognitive and academic skills.

“Children have to exercise their brain in a different way when they are managing two languages,” said Hernández. “Their brains are forced to make connections between two languages as they find the similarities and differences between them. Their brains are exercised in a way that produces cognitive benefits like problem-solving and decision making.”

The District’s second, 100-percent dual language campus, Irving Dual Language Academy, opens its doors August 2018 for Pre-K through second grade, ultimately to expand to Pre-K through eighth grade over the years. Also in August 2018, the District is launching a pilot early-college dual language program at Brackenridge High School for native Spanish speakers.

Hernández and her team are excited to continue growing SAISD’s English/Spanish dual language opportunities.

“We are impacting the futures of our English learners, as well as the futures of our English speakers,” said Hernández. “The beauty of a dual language program is that it benefits all students; it helps make them better learners.”

Campuses with dual language programs

Early Childhood Education Centers
Carroll ECEC
Carvajal ECEC
Gonzales ECEC*
Knox ECEC*
Nelson ECEC*
Tynan ECEC

Elementary Schools
Arnold ES*
Briscoe ES*
Collins Garden ES
De Zavala ES*
Franklin ES*
Graebner ES*
Highland Hills ES*
Highland Park ES
Hillcrest ES*
JT Brackenridge ES*
Lamar ES
Madison ES*
Maverick ES*
Miller ES
Neal ES*
Pershing ES*
Sarah King ES*
Schenck ES*
Smith ES*
Stewart ES*
Washington ES*
Wilson ES
Woodlawn Hills ES*

Ball Academy*
Beacon Hill Academy*
Bonham Academy
Bowden Academy*
Cotton Academy*
Crockett Academy*
Fenwick Academy*
Herff Academy
Irving Academy*
Japhet Academy*
Margil Academy*
Riverside Park Academy
Rogers Academy
Twain Academy
Woodlawn Academy*

High School
Brackenridge HS*

*Starting in 2018-19