Driving Dual-Language

Message from the Superintendent Dear Canutillo Community,

Canutillo ISD this week played host to Montserrat Garibay, the Department of Education’s Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director for the Office of English Language Acquisition. Ms. Garibay, who is one of the highest-ranking bi-literacy officials in the federal government, was in town to review and assess dual-language programs throughout the borderland. One of her stops was at Reyes Elementary School, where dual-language students continue to thrive.

I was proud to be part of the team of educators who welcomed Ms. Garibay and showed her the innovative work our dual-language teachers do to promote bi-literacy and bilingualism. Teachers like Ms. Garza, Ms. Armendariz and Ms. Guerrero at Reyes impressed our visitor with lessons that invite students to read, write, think in both English and Spanish.

Of course, that type of innovation is not unique to Reyes. Our dual-language program impacts students in every corner of the District, and the work that our Academic Language Services Department is doing is having strong results. The figures they shared with Ms. Garibay show students enrolled in dual-language classrooms outperform their peers in traditional classrooms in every single tested subject area.

This type of results are undeniable, and while we wish for a thoughtful and methodic expansion of our bi-literacy programs, we are confronted with one big challenge: the unavailability of bilingual certified teachers in the region. Like most Districts in El Paso, Canutillo is struggling to find bilingual teachers to help us fill vacancies. And while UTEP and NMSU continue to do great work in helping us train the teaching corps of the region, we find that we are still short in some certifications that are unique to El Paso.

In my conversations with Ms. Garibay I shared my hope that the federal government can soon begin a process that could afford Districts like ours the opportunity to take advantage of our geography and tap into the scores of qualified teachers in Mexico that could help us fill a need in our classrooms. These teachers, many of whom are ready and willing to work in El Paso classrooms, could bring a layer of knowledge and experience that would be beneficial to our schools and students.

I hope Ms. Garibay and the federal government take this into consideration. I know our students would be better off with properly prepared and caring teaching, no matter where they’re from.

In other news, there’s a big game this weekend happening in Arizona and unfortunately my beloved Green Bay Packers won’t be playing this time around. Yes, I am a little bit bitter about that, but I wish any Kansas City Chiefs or Philadelphia Eagles fans good luck.

Have a great Super Bowl Weekend everybody!

Pedro Galaviz
Superintendent of Schools