Las Vegas' Bilingual Educators Recognized
Las Vegas Mayor Tonita Gurulé-Giró
Bilingual/ immersion programs, which are in place in both local school districts,, teach children fluency in both English and a home or target language reflective of the community's culture.
At Los Niños Elementary School, the program begins in Kindergarten, with ninety percent of the class schedule being taught in Spanish.
The ratio of Spanish to English is shifted until, by the Fifth Grade, half of the class schedule is taught in Spanish and the other half in English.
Research studies have shown such programs to have a host of benefits, including building self-esteem and improving academic achievement by incorporating the students' cultures into classroom instruction.
The programs are funded by New Mexico's Bilingual Multicultural Education Act.
Las Vegas City Schools Associate Superintendant Michael Lovato said the program has a positive impact on student achievement. "There's a direct correlation with our bilingual program students going on to participate in high school advanced placement and honors programs," Lovato said.
West Associate Superintendant Darice Balizan said that bilingual education programs provide benefits to both language learners and their communities. "Development of proficiency in one's heritage language," Balizan said, "allows the student to participate in his/her own culture, and to understand and express the perspectives of his/her culture in the larger society."
City of Las Vegas, NM
Lee Einer, PIO