Laila Ferris will be the interim Chief of Languages and Learning, a new EPISD position created by Superintendent Juan Cabrera to reinforce the District’s efforts to graduate more students who are literate in English and Spanish.
Ferris will help develop the new Division within the Curriculum & Instruction Team in EPISD, but also will retain her position as principal at Mesita Elementary School and the Mesita Early Childhood Development Center.
“I can’t think of anyone who is more qualified to help us launch this effort than Ms. Ferris,” Cabrera said. “For more than 20 years, Ms. Ferris has lead one of the most successful dual- language programs in the country, and she was a critical partner in our efforts to expand dual language throughout EPISD.”
Cabrera said Ferris will be charged with launching new strategies and programs that will help grow the number of students participating in dual-language programs at all grade levels. The expansion of the dual-language program is one of the goals the Board of Trustees approved earlier this school year.
EPISD is a leader in the implementation of dual-language programs — a style of instruction in which monolingual English speakers are placed in the same classroom as monolingual Spanish speakers and instruction is provided equally in both languages. The goal of the program is to create fully bilingual and bi-literate students in English, Spanish and – when available – a potential third language.
“This is an exciting time for EPISD. To see dual-language come to fruition as its own division in the curriculum team is innovative and forward-thinking,” Ferris said. “We are sending the right message to the community … that all eyes, all energy and all effort will be on dual language.”
The District will conduct a search for a permanent Chief of Languages and Learning.