San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 26th, 2009
Hays CISD board talks construction, bilingual ed


The Hays CISD (HCISD) Board of Trustees unanimously approved a guaranteed maximum price for the district’s twelfth elementary school.

The price, set at $14.7 million, comes out to approximately $155 per square foot. HCISD Cheif Financial Officer Carter Scherff said the project is under budget by $15 per square foot.

The school, located on FM 967, across from HCISD’s Beacon Hill facility and Impact Center, is scheduled to open for the 2010-2011 school year.

In other news, Irene Jimenez, HCISD’s Director of Bilingual Education, said in a report that 1,445 elementary students, 211 middle school students and 148 high school students participate in various bilingual education programs offered by the district.

The programs include “one-way dual language,” in which students speak the same language in the classroom, and “two-way dual language,” in which students speak two different languages in the classroom.

Blanco Vista and Science Hall Elementary Schools offer the “two-way” method, though Jimenez noted that all of the district’s bilingual teachers instruct according to the dual language model.

Jimenez also noted in her report that the district’s New Arrival Center at Lehman High School, created for students who have been in the United States for a brief time, has 12 students in its fifth year.

The center has received 11 site visits. Jimenez has made presentations about the center at state and national conferences more than a dozen times. She also said the center has earned the attention of other districts and is being held up as a model for student success.

Simon Middle School will welcome a new arrival program when it opens next school year. Students who are currently in the fifth grade at Blanco Vista and have been in the district’s magnet two-way dual language program will be able to continue Spanish education at Wallace Middle School as sixth graders.

Jimenez said the Spanish for Spanish Speakers course is designed for, “…students who have participated in a two-way dual language program, are partially bilingual and vary in their language skills. This course expands their bilingual range and moves learners beyond basic language development up to expressive and receptive language abilities, and a broader command of the language.”

Continued Jimenez, “This course allows students the opportunity to reactivate the Spanish they have learned previously an develop it further, to learn more about the language and culture, to enhance career opportunities and to prepare to fulfill college requirements.”

The 24 students slated for the class at Wallace will have earned their foreign language credits for college by the time they graduate, Jimenez said.

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