Dallas-based school district visits UISD campuses

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LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) - Learning a new language is a challenging process, but for some students, it's a necessity.

English language learners are students who are learning English while still having to keep up with their English-speaking peers.

Different school districts have different ways to approach bilingual education.

United I.S.D. and Irving I.S.D. may be miles apart but they're student population looks very similar.

Slightly over 40-percent of their students are enrolled in bilingual or English as a second language education classes.

Irving I.S.D. administrators visited U.I.S.D. campuses and took notes on how to improve their services at home.

Two years ago, eleven year old Diana Martinez lived in Mexico.

"That's Rosetta Stone. They say a word and you have to match it with the picture", said Martinez.

Now, she's able to communicate with teachers and school friends.
Like other newcomers, Martinez is learning English at school through a variety of education stations that focus on different tasks.

"I like that ms. Peña has centers. So, we don't get bored just reading and reading. She has a lot of computers, books, and all of that stuff", said Martinez.

These stations help focus on the student's individual levels of progress.

Progress, that caught the attention of Irving I.S.D. world languages director Patty Bustamante.

"In looking at state data, in terms of our state assessment, STAAR, and all of that information, we found that united isd is doing very, very, well in their academic performance of all their students", said Bustamante.

"We have had very good results from our supplemental curriculum that we have from our students. Technology has also been a large part of our English language learners success", said Carmen Pompa.

Part of that success is also attributed in allowing students to continue using their first language.

"Here in school I speak English with people that don't know Spanish, and I teach teach them Spanish and they teach me English", said Martinez.

Both districts hope the outcome of these shared methods help students now and later.

"It feels good because when I grow up I will work and I will know English and Spanish so people can understand me", said Martinez.

Irving I.S.D. world languages director patty Bustamante says they hope to implement some of the supplemental material into their curriculum.

However, if and when it's implemented, they will break it into phases to make it a smooth transition for teachers and students.

Irving I.S.D. hasn't been the only district visiting United I.S.D.
Last month, Monte Alto I.S.D. also visited United's bilingual program.

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