• Bilingual and ESL Program Overview

    "We learn to read by reading, by making sense of what we see on the page. ... If we learn to read by reading, it will be much easier to learn to read in a language we already understand. Once you can read, you can read. The ability to read transfers across languages." Stephen Krashen

    Our goal in Deer Park ISD is to help students' transfer what they know in their native language to the newly acquired English language and build upon it.

    Research has shown that the quality - not the quantity - of English exposure is the major factor in English acquisition. That is, the second-language input must be comprehensible (Krashen 1996). Otherwise, it's just noise.

    "English as a second language (ESL) is best taught in natural situations, with the second language used in meaningful contexts rather than in repetitious drills of grammar and vocabulary. One variant of ESL, known as "sheltered subject-matter instruction," adapts lessons to students' level of English proficiency. This approach is common in bilingual education programs as well, coordinated with lessons in students' native language. Teaching in the native language can facilitate the process. This native-language instruction also helps to make English comprehensible, by providing contextual knowledge in a student's first language that aids in understanding." James Crawford

    Limited English Proficient (LEP) or English Language Learners (ELLs) need educational programs, which allow them to progress academically while they are acquiring English language skills. Our program models offer both academic content and English language development components.

    ELL students may enter the U.S. school system with previous educational experience and literacy skills in their native language, or their schooling may have been interrupted by world events and they may not be able to read and write or perform academically at grade level in their native language. ELL students not only enter U.S. schools at all ages and grade levels, but they also possess the same range of skills and educational needs as do any other students – they may be candidates for gifted and talented programs, or may be in need of special education services. English Language Learners must learn the same academic content that fluent English-speaking students are learning in school, except that ELLs must do so at the same time as they are acquiring a new language. Learning a language is a difficult task which takes time. Our approach is one that values a child’s native language and the cultural values they bring with them.

    Bilingual Program Grades PK-5

    The bilingual program in Deer Park is a transitional model that serves students that are identified as Limited English Proficient (LEP) according to TEA standards. The bilingual program is offered at Parkwood Elementary and Deepwater Elementary and the Early Childhood Center. Students receive native language instruction in Spanish to develop academic content while acquiring English skills. The amount of time devoted to English instruction increases gradually each year as students become more proficient in English. Ultimately students are exited from the program once they reach English Fluency based on an oral proficiency test and they pass the reading and writing portions of the TAKS test in English. Students that do not exit from the bilingual program in the 5th grade continue on to 6th grade in an ESL program.

    English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Grades PK-12

    ESL services are offered at every campus in the district. Teachers certified and trained in ESL methods and accommodations provide ESL services for students. This program is available to students that have a native language other than English or Spanish. Specialists in ESL/Dyslexia are available at each campus to provide intensive services. Students receive instructional support through ESL classes and sheltered English instruction. Students also exit the program once they reach English Fluency based on an oral proficiency test and they pass the reading and writing portions of the TAKS test in English.