“We’re really being able to provide a service for our community that we haven’t had the opportunity before,” Bertha Carrasco, Principal of Bradford Elementary said.
This year, San Angelo ISD introduced a new bilingual program to two campuses, Bradford Elementary and Glenmore elementary.
“This program was designed for our English learners. The goal for this program is for our English learners to be able to competently read, write, speak, and listen in a true bilingual setting which is both in English and in Spanish,” Christy Diego, Director of Bilingual and English Language Learners said.
This program is open to all students who qualify. Those qualifications can be seen in the images below.
The reason these youngsters start off with Spanish then later transition to English is backed by research.
“We get a lot of parents who say ‘you know my child already knows Spanish, I want them to know English,’ and I guess the biggest message is that really understanding their first language, when they transition to English it’s so much easier,” Diego said.
“Being able to and allowed to speak in your native language in the classroom and seeing that that is okay and we’re building that foundation for them and helping facilitate that even a better student in the long run,” Carrasco said.
“We don’t even know our own language to begin with so research shows that if we teach students at a young age their first language they can be English proficient within two to five years of learning both English and Spanish and knowing the four components in order for them to exceed academically,” Diego said.
While this program is new, the goal of helping students learn and thrive isn’t.
“We do want to be able to invite students in regardless of whether it’s Spanish or a different language, we’re here to support all learners and make sure all students succeed,” Carrasco said.
Inside the classroom these students are not only thriving but enjoying every lesson.
“They love being able to learn everything related to letters to numbers to any objective that we do,” bilingual teacher Mariela Arredondo said.
These lessons may be simple now, but officials say they’ll lead to lifelong prosperity.
“They’re going to be able to succeed in a different way because being bilingual, they’re going to open up many many other doors. It’s an opportunity I wish every kid could have. If they learn both English and Spanish, who is to say they can’t learn a third or a fourth language,” Arredondo said.