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K-12 Teachers Recognized for Attending Biliteracy Program

Area Teachers Receive Recognition After Attending UCR Biliteracy Program

Participants will be honored at the 21st Annual Multilingual Dinner Friday, April 25.

(April 25, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Several area K-12 teachers have been given the tools to encourage literacy in both English and Spanish through a grant-funded program at UCR. They will be recognized at the 21st Annual Multilingual Dinner sponsored by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Friday, April 25 at the Ontario Airport Marriott.

Estella Hernandez, Guadalupe Girard and Isabel Mejia-Perez are the first in the state to complete the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Reading Certificate with Biliteracy Emphasis. They were followed by Maria Martinez, Janet Alexander, Nancy Reyes, Ivon Rabago, and Arlene Quintana-Rangel. Three teachers completed the UCR Biliteracy Specialist/Dual Language certificate program: Martinez; Abril Rodiguez and Kim Greene.

The program fulfills a requirement needed by teachers, administrators and school psychologists who wish to earn a Reading Certificate. The program, offered through UCR Extension and the Two-Way Immersion Biliteracy Specialist Institute, is the only one of its kind in California.

Approximately 175 teachers have participated in the training since the program’s inception in 2002, paid for with a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In 2002, three school districts participated in the program but today nearly 22 districts from as far away as San Diego, Coachella and Compton are represented.

“The program is a new way of meeting the needs of second language learners,” said Teresa I. Marquez-Lopez, director of the Institute. “It’s about students and validating their language and culture and recognizing it as resource for learning,” she said. “Both English and Spanish-speaking students develop literacy skills in their first language while learning a second language and fully developing literacy skills in the second language.”

As examples, Marquez-Lopez said that students who begin learning a second language as young as kindergarten often study a third language as high school students. “Dual language programs offer lots of possibilities for students by opening academic, social and economic doors to move forward in a global society,” she said.

Two-way immersion classes are intended to offer benefits to both groups of students as they learn the other’s language and develop cross-cultural understanding.

“What teachers come away with is the knowledge of how to implement effective dual language programs in their schools and districts,” Marquez-Lopez said. “We have a small group this year because we came to end of our funding but this is a valuable program for educators in our region.”

She will begin teaching a new course May 22, offered through UCR Extension, called the Foundations of Dual Languages.

For more information or to enroll in the Foundations of Dual Languages, please call 951-827-3731.


The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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