Two more elementary schools will offer dual language programs in the Austin Independent School District this fall. Sunset Valley Elementary and Travis Heights Elementary will join Becker, Ridgetop, Perez and Wooten elementary schools. The program will be offered to Pre-K and first grade students only, and will expand as students age.
Unlike transitional bilingual language programs, which aim to teach English to non-English speakers, dual language programs teach Spanish-speaking and English-speaking students in both languages at the same time. The goal is to produce students who are biliterate and bicultural.
"We want them to be ready to enter university or college or start a career, but be ready to be prepared for a multicultural society," AISD's director of dual language Celia Glick told KUT News.
AISD is facing a projected budget deficit of $94 million, but the state funded portion of the district's dual language budget has already been secured, Glick said. District staff have said the program fits with the goals outlined in AISD's five year strategic plan, like closing achievement gaps among different ethnic groups and getting students to perform at or above grade level.
The district is providing four orientation sessions for parents at the schools where the program will be expanded. You can view the schedule here.
KUT attended an information session held last year. You can hear Celia Glick's hour long presentation at that event by using this audio player.