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Posted in , on July 31, 2023

One-way dual language program launches this school year

Arlington ISD’s new one-way dual language program has a name that might sound confusing to most parents. But here’s the most important thing to know about it. If you’re the parent of a Spanish-speaking or bilingual student going into pre-K, kindergarten or first grade, this is the program you want your child in.

The one-way dual language program is similar to the current transitional bilingual program that the district has had for a long time, only it’s better. It offers Spanish-speaking and bilingual students the opportunity to simultaneously attain both Spanish and English language proficiency through their entire elementary schooling, achieving high levels of bilingualism, biliteracy and biculturalism.

“We’re really excited to launch one-way dual language because we know the impact it’s going to have on our Spanish-speaking and bilingual students,” said Delisse Hardy, Arlington ISD director of world languages. “We already had a great bilingual program, but this takes it to another level. We’re not just transitioning to English, we’re developing fully bilingual and biliterate students.”

The goal isn’t simply to get students up to speed in English as quickly as possible so they can move to an all-English classroom. The goal is for students to develop mastery in both English and Spanish. It’s a gradual, purposeful journey toward fluency and proficiency in both.

This year, the one-way dual language program is open to pre-K, kindergarten and first grade students at 24 elementary schools. An additional grade level will be added each year until sixth grade. So, once your child is in it, they will continue in the program for all of elementary school.

In early grades, most instruction is in Spanish. English instruction is gradually added, with more and more each year. By second grade, the amount of English and Spanish instruction becomes virtually equal.

“This is a very strategic, research-based program,” Hardy said. “It’s designed to teach students to be able to navigate between both language systems: listening, speaking, reading and writing across all content areas at a high level of proficiency.”

It’s an exciting program. But at first glance, parents are bound to have questions. There are understandable concerns, like, “Will my child learn enough English? Will my child lose their Spanish? Will trying to learn two languages in school limit their academic achievement?”

The answers to all of these questions are what you’d hope for:

Will my child learn enough English?

Yes, your child is going to learn more than enough English. Students will become fully proficient in English and Spanish at high levels in each language.

Will my child lose their Spanish?

No, your child will not lose their Spanish. In fact, their Spanish knowledge and skills will grow.

“We will give you all the English you need,” Hardy said. “But with this program, you won’t lose your native language, Spanish. One doesn’t deter from the other.”

Will trying to learn two languages in school limit their academic achievement?

No, learning two languages will not limit your child’s academic achievement. In fact, it’s the opposite. Research shows higher academic performance for students participating in these kinds of language programs.

The list of benefits is long. Not only will students become biliterate, bilingual and bicultural, they will also develop a better understanding of cultures and diversity. Plus, dual language benefits include increased cognitive development and better problem-solving skills. All of it points to enhanced career opportunities and better futures.

If this sounds like an opportunity you want your student to be a part of, make sure you complete your campus registration and ask your school about placing your child in their one-way dual language classes.

One-way dual language is available at these elementary schools:

  • Adams
  • Anderson
  • Atherton
  • Bebensee
  • Berry
  • Blanton
  • Burgin
  • Crouch
  • Crow
  • Ellis
  • Foster
  • Goodman
  • Johns
  • Kooken
  • McNutt
  • Morton
  • Patrick
  • Peach
  • Rankin
  • Remynse
  • South Davis
  • Speer
  • Thornton
  • Webb