Bilingual Education and Latino Outreach

All Children Can Learn

Meet Our Staff

Dr. Victor VergaraDr. Victor Vergara
Director of Bilingual Education and Latino Outreach
(509) 526-6789
Sergio Hernandez
Equity & Access Coordinator 
Marilyn Melgoza 
Latino/a Outreach Coordinator 
Pam Clayton
Family and Community Engagement Coordinator

Program Overview

Walla Walla Public Schools believes in ensuring that second language learners do not fall behind academically while they learn English. We believe that English should be taught gradually as a second language without sacrificing content knowledge. If students first learn to read in their native language, then transfer skills to English, they will develop stronger literacy skills in the long term. In our increasingly global society, we encourage native language retention as students are taught English.

Why Instruct in Spanish?

At Sharpstein, Edison and Blue Ridge elmentary schools, bilingualism is our goal. In other buildings, English acquisition is our goal. Research studies indicate that students who become proficient readers, writers, and thinkers in their native language, successfully carry over skills and concepts into English. Teaching students in their native language allows for academic and cognitive growth while acquiring English.

Our Program Components

There are two elements to our program:

  1. English as a Second Language (K-12)

    What is English as a Second Language?

    English as a Second Language is a component that focuses on those students whose native language is not English. The goal of ESL is to promote the fluency of English through the use of oral language, reading, writing, and vocabulary building activities in the target language (English).

  2. Dual Immersion Programs

    What is Two-Way Language Enrichment?

    The Two-Way Language Enrichment Program is a language-oriented program designed to build fluency in both Spanish and English. Native Spanish and English speaking children have an opportunity to develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in both languages. Spanish and English instruction is always kept separate, allowing for maximizing concentration of both languages. Heterogeneous groupings during the Spanish and English portions of the day provide students with opportunities to assist and learn from one another, allowing second language acquisition to occur naturally. The Two-Way Language Enrichment Program is an "additive bilingual" program meaning that all students learn a second language without compromising their first language.

   What is One-Way Language Enrichment?

In this model, a classroom at each grade level has a one-language classroom grouping (only Spanish speaking students). Children are instructetd in their primary language (Spanish) during the reading/language arts block.  The teacher in this classroom instructs in both English and Spanish at designated times within the school day.  Instruction in this classroom begins with 80% in Spanish and 20% in English.  In second through fifth grades, language arts is taught in both languages and instruction is 50% in English and 50% in Spanish. 

Why Do We Offer Various Language Models?

  • Our native Spanish speaking students need to continue their academic learning in Spanish while they learn English.
  • Our students need to feel confident and successful
  • Students who are able to read, write, and speak fluently in their native language often are more successful at learning English
  • English acquisition is our goal for all students.
  • Proficiency in both Spanish and English is our goal for two-way language enrichment students.


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