Pictured left to right front row: Emily Carrasco, Emma Santiesteban, Katelyn Estrada, Italia Silva, Kayla Cardiel, Kate Luna, Ashley Ponce, Megan Tapia; second row: Ms. Yesenia Estrada, Dr. Meza-Chavez, and Mr. Ernesto Seigel
SAN ELIZARIO, TX – Anything worthwhile takes time and effort to build, and our thriving dual language program is not the exception. Nevertheless, we understand the need for our community to preserve its rich culture and linguistic heritage. To do so, the San Elizario ISD (SEISD) endeavored to build a dual language program to be implemented during the 19-20 school year. Although not the first one implemented, it is the district's goal to be the number one program in the region.
A strong foundation helps build on the community's input and support to cement future success. First, the SEISD created a district dual language committee that included parent input. Additionally, the district embarked on gathering teacher and administration support and training them to succeed. The program began at pre-k and now serves the second grade in this cohort approach.
Efforts district-wide were led by Susana Frescas, the Administrator for Instructional Programs, and Sandra Rico, an Instructional Officer for the district and who now serves as the Assistant Principal at Sambrano Elementary School. The district quickly moved into google meets as the source of virtual preparation. The great teachers in SEISD were up to the challenge and carried on with the project. In addition, two teachers took a leadership role in establishing essential components to ensure the success of our emergent bilingual students, Diana Loya and Diana Berumen. The latter were vital to the early success of the program.
The SEISD proudly showcases two campuses, Loya Primary School and Sambrano Elementary School, as established Dual Language centers following a 50/50 model. Both campuses successfully implement and embrace the three pillars of dual language. In addition, the district and campuses continue to provide professional development entirely in Spanish to the dual language team. The campuses work with experts such as Dr. Jose Medina, Dr. Monica Lara, and Dr. Olivia Hernandez. This year, the dual language program participated in the TxEDLIF pilot TEA program led by Dr. X. Rocha. The program provides support to all Region 19 schools by doing observations and providing feedback for the growth of the campus.
The SEISD is excited to see the dual language program grow to 3rd grade at Alarcon and Borrego next year. Indeed, students will continue flourishing academically in both languages, exhibiting bilingualism and biliteracy. In addition, our students demonstrate a high degree of cultural awareness, which makes our program special and unique. For example, the dual-language program continues to implement a ballet folklorico group at Sambrano Elementary and a future mariachi group at the Ann M. Garcia Enriquez Middle School (GEMS) with plans to expand to San Elizario High School.