EPISD expanding dual language program

EPISD is expanding its dual language program, so its available for all grade levels.

Should your students start learning a second language in elementary school?

Right now, El Paso Independent School District is offering a dual language program for certain grade levels.

But, in just a couple of years, the district plans to have the program available for all grade levels.

"I think it's very beneficial,” said EPISD parent Rebecca Armstrong.

"Yea, in the kinder(garten), they have a program where they do half the day in English and half the day in Spanish,” said EPISD parent Ivan Valdez.

Many parents we spoke with said they see the benefits of dual language education.

"That way, when they're out of high school, they're fully versed in both languages and they don't have to worry about it in college or anywhere else,” said Armstrong.

Others said they don’t agree.

"Our emphasis for our young kids should be English,” said EPISD parent Terry Read. "Well, at an elementary school, at an elementary level, is there really a necessity? I think on a middle school and up, it should be an elective."

Right now, only nine of the district’s elementary schools offer the dual language program for grades pre-K through fifth grade.

All of the others only offer it up to third grade.

Nine middle schools and six high schools are implementing the program.

But, the school district said, it is expanding the program, adding a grade each year.

That means that, by 2020, the district said, a dual language program should be available for all grade levels.

"Just a handful of districts across the country are really trying to do dual language in the way we are across the district,” said EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera.

The district said students who enroll in the program will become biliterate in English and Spanish, which is something most of the parents we spoke with said they support.

"I just think that it's only a benefit to know more than one language,” said Armstrong.

The district said it’ has partnered with UTEP to help the program thrive.

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