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The new program will have an even distribution of Spanish and English curricula, the old model emphasizing instruction in Spanish

SPRING, Texas – For the upcoming school year, Spring ISD bilingual preschool students will learn English under a new program that the trustees approved at the February 8 board meeting.

In a unanimous vote, the trustees approved the new “Bilingual One Way Bilingual” program, replacing the old model of the district. The program aims to help emerging bilingual, or EB, students who are native Spanish speakers learn English more effectively.

Eventually, more grade levels will become part of the program. However, the program will begin with five preschool students in August of the 2022-23 school year, according to a February 8 presentation by Marie Mendoza, executive director of instructional services and program director. multilingual Lettie Houck.

“The whole goal of language assistance services is to help our students acquire English and exit the program or be reclassified as unremarkable bilingualism,” Mendoza said. “And so we’ve got students who’ve been in the program for years who don’t meet the exit standards.”

The graduation rate of EB students at SISD has increased from about 44% in 2014 to about 73% in 2021. Meanwhile, the dropout rate of EB students at SISD has also increased from 1.6% in in 2014 to 3.5% in 2021, although that rate has declined since peaking. in 2019 is 4.7%. However, the graduation rate for EB students is lower than the district’s overall rate, and the dropout rate for EB students is higher, Mendoza said.

Ministry leaders hope the new program will improve academics for EB students. Mendoza says the new program will have an even distribution of Spanish and English curriculum, while the old model emphasizes instruction in Spanish.

“What we’re talking about tonight, is how (to) support those students in an equal way and give them the best kind of program model that will give them what they need: fluency English, respect (to) their native language, and help (to) them (to) meet the withdrawal criteria,” Mendoza said.

Department leadership will begin work on the transition in March, communicating the new program to teachers and training them.

Before the new program was presented to the trustees, it was reviewed by a task force of SISD administrators, teachers, parents, and community members formed in September.

Going forward, the trustees expressed a desire to make this program available to all students – including native English speakers – who wish to become bilingual. However, trustee Deborah Jensen made it clear that it would not be mandatory for all students.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Journalism.

https://abc13.com/bilingual-pre-k-students-spring-isd-english-spanish/11578347/ The new program will have an even distribution of Spanish and English curricula, the old model emphasizing instruction in Spanish

Dais Johnston

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