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District to launch dual language pilot program

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Magnolia Elementary classroom
In its effort to provide world-class educational opportunities, Pearland ISD is piloting a dual language program in four kindergarten classrooms this fall.

During the 2012-13 school year, Carleston and Magnolia elementary schools will each launch the pilot program in two kindergarten classrooms. The program will give equal numbers of native English and Spanish speakers the chance to learn both languages side by side in the classroom.

Goals of the program include developing language proficiency in both English and Spanish, high academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding.

For the first year, only students zoned to Carleston and Magnolia will participate in the program. As the program grows, Pearland ISD will add one grade level each year -- through sixth grade -- and potentially consider transfers.

While not replacing Pearland ISD's bilingual or English as a Second Language programs, the dual language program will meet the need for more language learning opportunities in an increasingly diverse community.

How Can I Learn More?

During early kindergarten enrollment, parents applied for their children to participate in the program.

Acceptance is limited to space availability, and selection of English-dominant students may be determined by lottery. Parents of qualifying students will be notified of their children's status by the end of May.

What Will the Dual Language Classroom Look Like?

Unlike bilingual/ESL programs, a dual language program will help students develop strong literacy skills in two languages through two-way immersion. Both sets of students will retain their cultural heritage and first language while mastering and appreciating a second language.

Two bilingual teachers will lead each classroom. All students will learn reading and writing in Spanish and English, while social studies, math and science will be a combination of both languages.

By fifth grade, students should be fluent in both languages.

Why a Dual Language Program?

A culturally diverse community, Pearland boasts 38 languages spoken within its city limits.

Of the 19,000-plus students in Pearland ISD, 7 percent are identified as English language learners, with the primary language other than English being Spanish.

The dual language program will help the district fulfill its mission of developing students who are prepared to compete in a global economy.

By launching this initiative, Pearland ISD strives to offer a range of educational opportunities to reach every student.

For more information about the pilot program, contact Connie Graves, Pearland ISD bilingual mentor, at gravesc@pearlandisd.org or 281.485.3203.


Related Links

  1. Bilingual/ESL Program webpage