The Socorro Independent School District is set to open a new Dual Language Academy at Myrtle Elementary School at the start of the new school year next summer.
The program is designed to offer 50-50 instruction in both English and Spanish, teaching students how to read, write and speak both languages efficiently.
“It was something that parents really wanted because we want our students to be global citizens and to be competitive and we know that knowing two languages opens a lot of doors,” SISD Chief Academic Officer Lucia Borrego said.
The academy will serve 44 kindergarten students and 44 first graders at Myrtle Cooper to start with, however plans for a second campus are already in the works.
Entry to the program will be an application process and Borrego says with the high anticipation of applicants, students will be selected in on a lottery-type basis.
“We anticipate a huge demand, it’s amazing how many parents want their students to learn,” Borrego said. “The Spanish-speaking parents want their kids to keep the Spanish, but also to read and write it and the English-speaking parents want their children to learn the Spanish.”
Borrego said at this time, requirements are not set for what they seek in applicants, but more information will be released to the public through social media, parent nights and the district website.
SISD leaders say Myrtle Cooper Elementary was selected as the first campus because it is in the center of the district area, making it easily accessible to parents and students accepted into the academy.
Myrtle Cooper Principal Alicia Miranda says the hiring process for teachers should begin in January.
“What we’re looking for are teachers that have that strong foundation in both languages in Spanish and English,” Miranda said.
According to Borrego, the academy will incorporate higher grade levels, but for now it’s starting with kindergarten and first grade.