In Ector County Independent School District, bilingual programs serve students and parents. In a school district where 32 languages other than English are spoken, many students are learning English as a second language.
Maribelle Minyard is a first grade bilingual teacher at Jordan Elementary School. She provides hands-on activities for her students, and visual displays too. She has been teaching at Jordan for 25 years, and says that bilingual education works well if done correctly but is a controversial topic.
She says that because she teaches in Spanish, people assume that is the language the students want to keep. However Minyard says that is not the case. She teaches all academic subjects, and uses English throughout the day, emphasizing vocabulary.
“Our focus is to get them to learn English, but at the same time, we’re building that academic foundation in the language they came to us (with) so that they’re not behind in second or third grade when they’re already speaking more English. I’ve already taught them to read. I’ve taught them to add. I’ve taught to subtract,” Minyard said. “We know they have to have English to be successful and productive in our society,” she added.
All bilingual teachers are required to provide 45 minutes of ESL instruction at all grade levels.