Dual-Language Education

A Bryan Independent School District program has students speaking double.

Through a dual-language program, students at three elementary schools are learning Spanish and English.

It's an unique teaching style that has students catching on quickly.

"We're not favoring one language over the other," Anson Jones Elementary Teacher Alma Velez said. "They are both of equal value and of equal importance."

Before Kindergarten parents decide if they want their child to participate in the dual-language program.

The program is not all about learning the language, students learn math and other subjects in both English and Spanish.

"My mom wanted me to take dual-language," dual-language student Malcom Ford said. "She wants me to teach her Spanish too."

Three Bryan elementary campuses offer the program, Milam, Johnson, and Anson Jones.

22 kids start in each, 50 percent native English speakers and 50 percent native Spanish speakers.

And the students are committed to the program through the fifth grade.

"Once they go into third, fourth, and fifth we're doing 50/50," Velez said. "50 percent of the time is spent teaching in Spanish and not necessarily the Spanish language, but subject matter in Spanish and 50 percent of the time is taught in English."

What may be a challenge at first, has become fun.

"It's cool learning two languages," fourth-grade dual-language student Aimee Rodriguez said.

And the students already understand the importance of their knowledge.

"Since I want to be a veterinarian, if ever a Spanish person comes to me I'll know what they're trying to tell me," Gabby Galicia, a fourth-grade dual-language student said.

The success of the program has been two-fold, students learning they need one another.

"They work together as buddies and they help each other out and they depend on each other," Velez said.

And learning to appreciate another language and culture as much as their own.

There are plans to extend the program to Jane Long Middle School in the near future.


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