HISD’s dual language educators came together to review and share best practices and to celebrate this year’s achievements and lessons learned in the first ever Dual Language Fiesta.
The two-hour event focused on nine tertulia topics: data disaggregation, student engagement, making content comprehensible to all students, staffing, fostering a climate of cross-culturalism and bilingualism, parent engagement, innovation in dual language, busting out of the box and collaborating and networking.
During the tertulias, “Principals from different campuses were leading the table discussions sharing best practices and brainstorming with each other next steps of dual language implementation based on their experiences,” said Assistant Superintendent for Multilingual Programs, Dr. Altagracia ‘Gracie’ Guerrero.
The Dual Language Fiesta culminated with a panel discussion in which elementary principals from JR Harris, Memorial and Edward White reviewed lessons learned through out the school year.
Judith S. Garcia, principal at J.R. Harris Elementary manifested that “one of the most valuable lessons learned is the level of support and flexibility you must have for your teachers,” as a result, next year they will expand their dual language program in second grade. For principal Paulette Caston, one of their focuses this year was student equity. “We want to make sure we are meeting the kids needs by providing an alternate schedule.” Memorial’s ES principal, Dr. Maria Teresa Garcia, insisted that for them their lesson learned was “trusting the process”. “I had to cut myself some slack and just celebrate where the kids are. We have to trust the process that just like the Spanish speakers have to have that time to grow in that second language, so do the English speakers have to have time to grow in the Spanish language.”
“As district –said Dr. Guerrero–, we learned that we need to continue our differentiated support to campuses since they are all at different levels. That’s our big focus for next year, be able to offer that differentiated support in the form of continued TDS support, coaching support to teachers and, of course, the customised staff development that we are able to provide from the department.”
This way, and while participants enjoyed dinner, the district’s inaugural Dual Language Fiesta came to an end.