A Texas Education Agency (TEA) update will change the enrollment process for dual language programs across the state. TEA Commissioner’s Rule Chapter 89.1228 states:
“Two-way Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program model shall fully disclose candidate selection criteria and ensure that access to the program is not based on race, creed, color, religious affiliation, age, or disability. Additionally, identified emergent bilingual students and non-emergent bilingual students shall not be restricted access to the two-way DLI program model based on any linguistic or academic achievement measures in the program’s partner language or English.”

In a report to the Lufkin ISD School Board on Tuesday, Bilingual/ESL Programs Director Dr. Betsy Mijares said that changes will be implemented to ensure district compliance in the dual language program at Lufkin ISD.

“Over the course of three decades, the Lufkin ISD Dual Language Two-Way Program has demonstrated remarkable success,” Mijares said. “It is well-positioned to continue thriving amidst the forthcoming changes.”

The program goals remain the same with continued focus on achieving bilingualism and biliteracy in both English and Spanish. The District’s dedication remains the same with ongoing progress and data monitoring; implementation of best practices and commitment to fostering true bilingualism among all students.

“The program’s endurance is credited to its unwavering commitment to transformative learning that goes beyond bilingualism, promoting cultural understanding, and instilling a sense of global citizenship,” Mijares said. “We extend gratitude to campus leaders, dedicated educators, parental support, and enthusiastic students eager to embrace true bilingualism.”

The change in the program will no longer require a language proficiency screener to determine entry. In addition, parents of English speaking students will attend a mandatory informational parent meeting prior to the application process.

English Speaking Students Enrollment:

An online application must be completed between Feb. 8 to Feb. 24, 2024. Students will be placed in the program based on a first-come, first-served application completion. Parents will need to attend one of the following mandatory informational meetings offered at the DEC building at 701 N. First Street:

Jan. 10 at 5 p.m.
Jan. 17 at 11:30 a.m.
Jan. 23 at 5 p.m.
Feb. 7 at 11:30 a.m. or 5 p.m.

After attending one of the meetings and submitting the online application, parents will be contacted by the Bilingual/ESL Department to arrange a language screener. It’s important to note that this screener is not intended for excluding any applicants but rather to offer the campus valuable insights that contribute to creating well-rounded and balanced classrooms.

Emergent Bilingual Students (Spanish-Speaking students) Enrollment:

All incoming Emergent Bilingual kindergarten students will be enrolled in the program. There will be an Informational Parent Meeting in the spring, and teacher input and student data will be reviewed to ensure balanced classrooms.

“This program has played a pivotal role in fostering cultural bridges, and establishing a harmonious learning environment that celebrates diversity,” said Mijares. “Students not only acquire proficiency in both English and Spanish but also develop a profound appreciation for diverse perspectives, nurturing a global mindset.

The Dual Language Two-Way Program stands as a compelling testament to the positive influence of instruction and dedicated teachers on our students’ educational journeys, enhancing their marketability in their future careers.”

For more information on the Dual Language Program at Lufkin ISD, see the Advanced Academics or Bilingual/ESL department on the lufkinisd.org website.