28 HISD schools begin dual-language program

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Thousands of children are now home resting after their first day of school.

For many elementary school students, it was a multi-cultural experience. The Houston Independent School District started the school year with dual-language classrooms at 28 of its elementary schools.

At the schools, Spanish-speaking students are in the same classroom as English speakers. They spend the first half their day learning only in Spanish and the second half is all instruction in English.

"I'd like to see us get to the point where one day in Houston, we become the first school district in the country that require all of our kids to graduate from high school having the ability to be proficient in two languages,"
HISD superintendent Terry Grier said.

HISD administration says about 3,600 more students enrolled this year over last, but Greir couldn't say how many of the new students, if any, are undocumented children.

"I couldn't tell you 10 days from now how many of our students are documented or undocumented," Greir said. "We just don't know and we frankly have no interest in knowing."

What we do know: HISD has taken an old school building off the market. It's an empty school on the northeast side that the Feds have toured and considered as a possible shelter for unaccompanied Central American children. HISD says it hasn't heard anything more about the idea, but they want it to be available if the plan goes through.

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