Tuloso-Midway ISD inspired by PSJA ISD Dual Language Program
PHARR – Several educators from Tuloso-Midway Independent School District (TMISD) visited Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (PSJA ISD) Aida C. Escobar Elementary and Graciela Garcia Elementary to learn about its Dual Language Enrichment Program during a Learning Tour held Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024.
First started in 1995, the PSJA Dual Language Enrichment Program is an academic experience designed for students to develop stronger cognitive and academic skills through the development of on-level bilingualism and biliteracy.
Since its inception, close to 3,000 students have graduated with Dual Language Bi-Literacy Seals on their high school diploma. This seal is given only to those students who complete the rigorous program helping them master both academic English and Spanish languages.
According to Shelbi Moran, Instructional Facilitator at TMISD Primary Campus, this is one of the many reasons TMISD is interested in learning how to implement a dual language program in their district.
“PSJA ISD has implemented an amazing Dual Language Program district-wide for many years now, this will be our first year implementing a program of this caliber for our kinder and first-grade students, we are trying to find our footing with it so visiting a district that has their footing has been an exceptional learning experience,” said Moran.
During the PSJA College for All Learning tour, visitors got to learn about the program from presentations by PSJA campus and district leaders and had the opportunity to conduct numerous classroom visits from Pre-Kinder through 1st-grade dual language classes and participate in a Q&A discussion panel.
“My favorite observation from today was seeing how the teachers would work with a small group of students during rotations and how each classroom was aligned across the board,” shared Moran. “I’m hoping our teachers go back with ideas that they can implement in their classrooms.”
According to Olivia Martinez, PSJA ISD Dual Language Director, hosting these learning tours provides in-depth insight into the behind-the-scenes work of what it takes to successfully launch these types of programs.
“PSJA ISD is a beacon for other schools, not only in Texas but across the nation to come and learn from what our students and our teachers are doing,” said Martinez. “Really what the outcome is these educators go back home and replicate what our students are doing here at PSJA.”
Through a rigorous curriculum, students who participate in the program are academically instructed in English and Spanish, from Pre-Kinder to 12th grade. As a result, students can master both languages and enhance their education by developing the ability to fluently speak, read, write, and think critically in English and Spanish, which allows them to compete successfully in a global economy.
Currently, there are more than 14,000 elementary, middle school, and high school students enrolled in the program. To learn more about the PSJA Dual Language Enrichment Program, visit www.psjaisd.us/duallanguage