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Dual Language Program Creates Success

Eight Johnson Elementary students were recognized in Friday’s edition of the newspaper La Voz Hispana for their success in the school’s dual language program.

These students are members of Bryan ISD’s dual language program that is available at Johnson Elementary, Henderson Elementary and Jane Long Middle School. Students learn in two languages, English and Spanish, in an instructional setting that integrates content from both languages. 

A second language is a valuable asset, but that’s not all these programs provide. Henderson Principal Danielle Legg said dual language promotes biculturalism in addition to bilingualism.

“Our dual language students form a unique bond as they face similar challenges and accomplishments,” Legg said. “They work through these experiences together throughout their time at Henderson.”

Student Achievement

Administrators and teachers are discovering that developing bilingual, bi-literate and culturally-aware students can translate into academic success.

Students leave dual language programs with enhanced levels of meta-linguistic awareness, which leads to better reading acquisition. They often see improved performance over monolingual students on tasks that call for divergent thinking, pattern recognition and problem-solving. Additionally, they gain a greater knowledge and understanding of their native language. Jane Long Principal Cody Satterfield has seen many other benefits in the dual language program.

“I’ve observed dual language students developing an understanding, tolerance, appreciation and respect for other languages and cultures,” Satterfield said. “They gain the ability to communicate effectively with other cultural groups.”

Satterfield added that dual language students earn enhanced employment opportunities after graduation because they can take advantage of job opportunities that are available in other languages.

Teaching Strategies

Dual language teachers work to accomplish academic success through a variety of methods. For example, Jamie Mosqueda incorporates music into his kindergarten dual language class at Johnson. If you walk into his classroom, you might discover the sounds of guitar music and singing children. Then, you would find out they are learning Spanish or English at the same time.

Mosqueda’s principal, Amy Newbold, is excited about the developments in his kindergarten classroom and all the dual language programs at Johnson. She said the shared commitment between the students and their parents and teacher is what fuels the dual language program at her school.

Bryan ISD’s dual language program is open to any incoming kindergartener who meets the application, evaluation and placement guidelines for the upcoming school year. The elementary programs require a six-year commitment, kindergarten through fifth grade (next year, it will be a seven-year commitment for kindergarten through sixth grade due to realignment). Students living outside the Henderson or Johnson school zones may participate in the programs if their parents provide transportation to and from school.

At the middle school level, Jane Long Middle School offers dual language for students who have previously participated in a dual language program. Jane Long will continue to provide dual language to students when it becomes a fifth and sixth-grade intermediate school next year.

For more information about dual language at Bryan ISD, visit our dual language page.
Click here for information about Dual Language Pathways in Fall 2017.

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