Published On: September 24th, 2019Categories: Uncategorized

University Hill Elementary Principal Ina Rodríguez-Myer is receiving recognition for her leadership in bilingual education.

Rodríguez-Myer was chosen as the 2019 Colorado Association of Bilingual Education’s Educational Leader of the Year. Boulder’s University Hill is a dual-language bilingual school, teaching students to speak, read and write in both English and Spanish.

“It’s very humbling to be selected,” Rodríguez-Myer said. “It’s such a huge honor. This honor really is about all the people at University Hill. It’s not just about the leadership. It’s all the staff members who work together to make this the place that it is.”

In the letter notifying her of the award, the Colorado Association of Bilingual Education praised Rodríguez-Myer’s “tireless and inspirational leadership and advocacy for students and teachers as you lead your staff to engage in professional learning, critical reflection and courageous conversations.”

Rodríguez-Myer, who has led the school since 2009, said teachers spent the last school year working with a consultant to change the school’s delivery model to better reflect what current research says is best.

Before, students would have their main literacy block in their home language, then spend about 45 minutes in direct instruction of their second language.

With the new model, native English and native Spanish speakers share a home classroom and receive literacy instruction in both languages each day.

“We’ve made some huge strides in being more inclusive,” she said. “We really talk about the social justice aspect. Our kids come to us with so many language resources. We’re really meeting the needs of the kids.”

In the past the school, which parents must choose through open enrollment, struggled to attract enough English-home-language families to create the preferred 50/50 mix of English- and Spanish-home-language students.

But, in the last three years, Rodríguez-Myer said, she’s had a wait list of English-home-language students.

“Parents see how being bilingual supports kids in the future,” she said. “They see what a great skill it is to give children.”

Along with language skills, she said, University Hill offers a diverse student population and works to ensure all students feel included.

“We want our kids to be able to function in the real world, where not everyone looks like you or thinks like you,” she said. “We want to develop the kinds of kids we want in the world.”

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