Last week, the Texas Legislature passed HB 218, a new law that gives districts like EPISD the flexibility to hire English as a Second Language-certified teachers to teach in the dual language programs. The law now awaits a signature from Gov. Greg Abbott before it becomes official.
HB 218 is a key piece of legislation for EPISD as we continue to expand our dual-language programs at virtually every elementary school in the District. Having the ability to place an ESL certified teacher in those classrooms instead of Spanish certified teacher will help us expand the program at a much quicker pace. That’s because we have found that finding ESL certified teachers is much easier than finding Spanish certified ones.
I want to thank state Rep. Marisa Márquez and state Sen. José Rodríguez for spearheading this bill and getting it approved. The District worked closely with Rep. Márquez and Sen. Rodríguez to get the bill through. Their staffs were helpful and attentive every step of the way, especially when two of our academic experts — Mesita Elementary Principal Laila Farris and Director of Connecting Languages Eliza Simental — traveled to Austin to testify before the Senate Education Committee.
This bill is a great example of the renewed sense of collaboration that exists between EPISD and the El Paso delegation to the state legislature. EPISD is a part of a larger community here in El Paso, and it is our goal to form partnerships that will help us reach our common goals.