Sixth Dual Language Immersion Summit at
Centro Hispano
Strengthening the DLI
By Althea Dotzour, Nuestro Mundo Board Member
On March 10, Nuestro Mundo, Inc., the Latino Education Council, and Centro
Hispano co-sponsored Madison’s Sixth Dual Language Immersion Summit at
Centro Hispano.  Dr. Salvador Carranza, president of the Latino Education Council,
told the crowd of 50 parents, teachers, youth, and community leaders involved in
dual language immersion education in the Madison Metropolitan School District
(MMSD) that “monolingualism is the new illiteracy.”   

While children played and sang Spanish songs nearby, participants connected as
a community in support of Dual Language Immersion (DLI) education.  Since
Nuestro Mundo Community School opened their doors as Madison’s first K-5 DLI
school in 2004, Spanish/English DLI programs have expanded and are now
available in 10 elementary schools, four middle schools, and one high school with
another high school to be added in 2018-2019.

MMSD has a small Office of Multilingual and Global Education, which provides
support for English as a Second Language (ESL) programs as well as bilingual
education and DLI programs.  Participants expressed interest in working together
to create a stronger sense of community across DLI schools in Madison and to
provide more support for middle and high school programs.

With 19 percent of MMSD’s population being Hispanic, and 27 percent being
English Language Learners, the interest and need for DLI education in Madison is
only going to continue to grow.  Participants of the DLI Summit are interested in
helping the Madison School Board appreciate the scope and importance of DLI
programs and would like to see the district allocate more resources for DLI
coordinators within high schools and mentorships as new programs are
Dr. Patricia Tellez-Gíron, parent of DLI students, summarized the importance
of DLI education for all students in MMSD. “DLI teaches students more than
language, it teaches students acceptance and inclusion of differences,”
Tellez-Gíron said. “It has the power to transform our communities.”
Panelists at the DLI Summit, including recent La Follette graduate Oscar Cruz, highlighted the importance of expanding DLI class offerings in high
school to include honors and AP classes.  They also stressed the importance of hiring native Spanish speakers as teachers, and highlighted
opportunities for MMSD and the UW to connect to help Madison’s DLI graduates obtain teaching credentials and return to Madison to teach.