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UTSA partners with SAISD to establish Dual Language Community Lab Schools
June 14, 2021 — The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is building on its efforts to advance knowledge and practice of dual language education. The UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) and San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) are partnering to lead three Dual Language Community Lab Schools. As part of Senate Bill 1882, signed into law during the 2017 Texas legislative session, the 1882 Partnership aims to create a dual language model lab school network that will advance the preparation of teachers, principals, counselors, school psychologists, and others dedicated to educating bilingual students in San Antonio.

Housed at Bonham Academy, Irving Dual Language Academy, and Twain Dual Language Academy, COEHD directors, faculty, graduate students, clinical students and clinical teachers as well as teachers, students, parents and administrators in the three schools will serve as a model for practice and research into the value and best models for dual language instruction. Drawing on the shared expertise of practitioners in the schools and researchers and teacher preparation faculty, the lab school will serve as a site for innovation and a model for dual language programs across the nation.

“Each of these schools is considered dual language model schools and there is a genuine commitment to dual language by the leadership, teachers, staff and community,” said Belinda Flores, UTSA associate dean of Professional Preparation and Partnerships. “Across COEHD, faculty and staff have expertise in the areas of bilingual-bicultural/dual language education to support and promote these innovative practices.”

The partnership was developed to close the gap between educational theory and practice in the classroom. 

“There has long been a call to transform educator preparation to ensure that all students have educational opportunities to achieve their potential,” Flores said. “Through this partnership, COEHD intends to tackle these challenges and find solutions to help these students achieve their maximum potential.”

As part of the partnership, COEHD faculty and students as well as teachers and students in the schools will engage in research to identify best practices for educator preparation programs, EC-12 culturally and linguistically efficacious and responsive teaching and leadership practices, and to attain exceptional biliteracy and academic outcomes. This research and policy briefs will be used to inform policy makers, higher education and P-12 educators. 

“UTSA is a proven partner with a long history in SAISD, having helped to prepare generations of bilingual teachers while bringing a depth of knowledge around culturally sustaining pedagogy and teaching,” said David Nungaray, principal of Bonham Academy.  “At Bonham, this partnership will enrich our pillars of dual language, environmental science and fine arts and open many doors for our staff, students, and community. We envision our 1882 Partnership to be a model for the nation and for urban education in unifying a community vision with strategic, community-based partnerships. Our staff looks forward to building upon and establishing new collaborations with UTSA professors and staff to further enrich our students’ lives, and to growing in our own learning as mentors to future educators. This 1882 Partnership represents the power of partnership and will build a pipeline for future dual language educators and leaders.” 

“UTSA and SAISD are familia, and there is no better team to elevate dual language nationwide,” said Olivia C. Hernández, assistant superintendent for Learning, Language and Literacy in SAISD. “We have the opportunity to have parents, teachers, administrators, and community members working together to ensure all students have the opportunity to become bilingual, biliterate, and multicultural. This partnership is instrumental in establishing that dual language offers the ideal well-rounded education for all students.”

The 1882 Partnership is just one of the many collaborations between UTSA and San Antonio School districts. As an urban serving university, UTSA is dedicated to student success and creating pathways to a college education. The partnership furthers UTSA’s goal of becoming a model Hispanic thriving university by serving the Hispanic community through strategic educational partnerships.

“Through a long-standing relationship with SAISD, the partnership solidifies COEHD’s mutual commitment to social justice, bicultural-bilingual and equitable education. In addition, these  partnerships support UTSA’s Bold Futures Initiative and COEHD’s partnership initiatives for optimizing opportunities, transforming lives, and creating endless possibilities for learners, faculty and staff alike,” said Juliet Langman,  interim dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

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