Hispanic Forum: Improve Bilingual Education at WFISD

Hispanic Community leaders and parents met at Sam Houston Elementary Tuesday evening. Leaders presented a list of bilingual recommendations they want the Wichita Falls Independent School District to implement in the school system.

"We want to talk to them (parents) about what they think their school districts responsibility is to educate their children and what their responsibility is in educating their children," said David Barbosa with the Coalition for Hispanic Education.

As a first grade teacher at Sam Houston Elementary Alma Allen sees a language barrier affecting both students and parents.

"By having bilingual teachers that makes the parents feel more at ease knowing that they can communicate with them in their own language," she said.

As a bilingual teacher she makes it easier for parents to get involved in their child's education. It's as simple as providing an extra paper that's in Spanish.

"The kids want their parent know what's going on in the school district so they always ask is it in English or Spanish. I make it a point to do both."

During the forum Coalition of Hispanic Education leaders presented goals they have for the school district. The first is a recommendation for a dual language program.

"They learn their academics in Spanish but over the course of their elementary school experience they also learn English," said Barbosa.

The dual language program could also be implemented for English speaking students, giving those students the ability to learn Spanish.

"It'll be an asset for people that grow up and go through the dual language track and then can compete in the global market," said Kelly Mestas.

At WFISD Hispanics are the fastest growing minority totaling 33 percent of the student population.

Here is a list of the recommendations the coalition has for the district:

1: Since WFISD has suggested the possibility of a Dual Language program, the coalition recommends the immediate establishment of such a goal.

2: We support the need for translation services. The coalition recognizes the rapidly growing Hispanic population and recommends two full-time translator positions.

All district documents provided to parents of WFISD students should be translated into Spanish and forwarded to the schools for their use.

3: The district must commit itself to reach into the Hispanic community, establish relationships and build trust.

The coalition recommends a minimum of two full-time bilingual parent involvement facilitator positions be established.

4: The coalition recommends the district utilize NCLB (No Child Left Behind) funds to support diversity training for school personnel.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.