Thursday, April 25, 2024

GISD to expand dual language program


The Granbury Independent School District’s dual language program now has plans for expansion beginning in the fall of 2024, due to the increasing enrollment numbers.

During the regularly scheduled Granbury ISD school board meeting March 25, Stacie Brown, director of curriculum and instruction, gave an updated report on the district’s bilingual program.

“Over the course of the 23-24 school year — this school year specifically — our elementary, as well as our secondary emergent bilingual population, and our dual language population has grown significantly,” Brown said. “Specifically, our total numbers in our emergent bilingual population have grown 165 students this year up until this point, and there's nine that are still in process.”

In grades K-5, dual language classes alone have increased by 76 students — bringing the district’s total number of dual language students to 324.

Brown explained that in order to provide the space needed to accommodate the outstanding growth, the dual language program will be expanding to be offered at both Nettie Baccus Elementary School as well as Brawner Elementary School.

"Beginning in the 24-25 school year, dual language students that are zoned to Baccus Elementary and Oak Woods that are currently attending at Brawner will be attending the dual language program at Baccus Elementary, so we are expanding,” Brown said.

Brawner Principal Sandy Ruiz, Brawner Assistant Principal Julie Sellers, Granbury Middle School Principal Julie Rohleder, STEAM Academy at Mambrino Instructional Specialist Nuvia Velasquez, ESL/Bilingual Coordinator Kristina Sosebee and newly hired Baccus Principal Lacey Padgett will soon be implementing the transition plan regarding staffing and will be communicating with families about the change.

"This expansion will maximize the best possible usage of our elementary facilities and provide balance district wide of all our K-5 enrollment,” Brown said. “It takes Baccus up 120 students, and it drops Brawner 120 students, bringing Brawner to 795 and Baccus to about 585. In the beginning of the 24-25 school year, all elementary campuses will then be at or above their functional capacity.”

Superintendent Jeremy Glenn told Brown he knows this process has been a heavy lift — especially for Brawner staff, as he said they have been experiencing the pain of enrollment numbers crushing their campus.

“This is our chance to offer a little bit of relief to Brawner (by moving some students) to the only campus that really has any room available right now,” Glenn said. “It's a move that we feel like is a positive one moving forward. To have two bilingual campuses in the district is going to be ultimately a good thing long-term for our campus, and then obviously, we'll see where the bond election goes in May. But we can't wait three years for a new school to be built. We have to do something now, so this is the answer to providing relief at Brawner.”

Board President Barbara Townsend also asked newly hired Lacey Padgett if it was correct that she had experience with a bilingual program in the past.

“I'm excited to say that in one of my former districts, I actually ended up bringing the one-way dual language program to our entire district,” Padgett said. “I think it's a great way to come together as a community and really just celebrate our cultural pieces we have here in Granbury. I think the biggest thing is gonna be the transition and ensuring that the parents and the teachers as well as the students feel like they're part of the Baccus Elementary family, so I look forward to that.”

“Well, I think we're very blessed to have someone that already understands the program," Townsend said. “Between the two of you (Brown and Padgett), we're in great shape.”