Dual Language within our communities has grown stronger in value over the years, and because La Joya ISD understands the importance of children knowing two languages, the implementation of a rigorous Dual Language Enrichment Program is of outmost importance to our school district.

The Gómez & Gómez One-Way Dual Language Enrichment (DLE) Program, which is currently in place at La Joya ISD, ensures the long-term achievement for all bilingual learners and is proud to graduate biliterate students ready to actively participate in a global economy.

For this reason, La Joya ISD was visited by Royal ISD from Houston and Colorado ISD to observe the outstanding Dual Language Program at 5 of our top elementary schools. Guests included, superintendents, principals and directors who came to learn from La Joya ISD on how to better implement dual language in their districts.

In the district, there is strong fidelity of implementation of the Dual Language Enrichment Program by collaborating with the Dual Language Training Institute (DLTI).  DLTI teams include experts in the field of bilingual education such as university professors and retired school administrators.  DLTI provides the district with technical support and feedback on the effectiveness of our program through staff development and classroom observations.

This year, alone, a total of 434 PK-5th grade classroom observations were conducted throughout the 23 elementary campuses implementing the Gómez & Gómez One-Way Dual Language Enrichment (DLE) Program.

“Our district’s mission is to encourage students to take advantage of the opportunities being provided, which in turn, will enable them to become productive and useful members of society,” stated Irma Zuñiga, LJISD Bilingual/ESL Education Director.

“Dual Language immersion is a dynamic form of education that holds great promise for developing high levels of academic achievement, bilingualism and biliteracy, and cross-cultural awareness among participating students.  Enrichment programs such as the two-way and one-way, are the only programs research has found to be the most effective in assisting students to reach high levels of achievement in both languages.

Students participating in the Dual Language Enrichment program learn language through academic content instruction in both languages. Dual language models of bilingual education are described as additive models because they focus on enrichment, challenging curriculum, and set high expectations for students. They also provide students the opportunity to develop one or more languages at Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency level.” – Gomez & Gomez, 2004

“The intent of these programs is to make sure all students are granted an equal opportunity to become academically successful in their native language, while also learning a second language along the way, ” Zuñiga added.

Overall, the DLTI team reported strong positive reviews and significant improvement regarding quality of implementation of the district’s One-Way DLE Program for the number of years of implementation.  As a district, the expected developmental stage of the Gómez & Gómez DLE model’s implementation was met in that all campuses demonstrated strong DLE classroom environments, interactive, challenging instruction, and meaningful efforts to be consistent and implement with fidelity the district’s DLE program.

Specifically, five LJISD elementary campuses earned an Exemplary Rating: Lloyd M. Bentsen Elementary, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Elementary, William J. Clinton Elementary, Tabasco Elementary,  and Emiliano Zapata Elementary.

The DLTI observation team campus summary reports indicated that in the majority of campuses visited, there was a significant and consistent effort to implement the district’s DLE model and a genuine willingness to continue to learn.

The literature on dual language enrichment education is clear in that the more consistent the components of the model are implemented, the higher the student’s academic outcomes.  And it is evident that La Joya ISD’s extensive support of the DLE model keeps our Spanish Dominant-Dual Language Learners (DLLs) students at a high level for linguistic success.

La Joya ISD takes pride in providing quality education and expanding learning opportunities, empowering students with high levels of cognitive abilities, graduating bilingual, bi-literate and bicultural students, and are humbled to serve as a model for other school districts  to follow.