Montgomery ISD heeds parents’ concerns, will not consolidate dual language program

Families of dual language students gathered at Stewart Creek Elementary to hear Montgomery ISD's decision on program consolidation. (Courtesy Amy Jones)
Families of dual language students gathered at Stewart Creek Elementary to hear Montgomery ISD's decision on program consolidation. (Courtesy Amy Jones)

Families of dual language students gathered at Stewart Creek Elementary to hear Montgomery ISD's decision on program consolidation. (Courtesy Amy Jones)

8:30 a.m. Nov. 4: This story has been updated to include comments from Montgomery ISD and another dual language parent.

Following concerted opposition by parents, Montgomery ISD has decided to not consolidate its dual-language program for the 2020-2021 school year, a proposal that would have moved the program from two campuses into one.

The district announced its decision Oct. 30 at two different dual-language parent meetings. The proposal was to move MISD's dual-language program, which is currently offered at Stewart Creek and Lincoln elementary schools, to one campus, Montgomery Elementary School. The program is intended for elementary school students who want to learn in both English and Spanish.

"The decision to keep dual language as is at both Stewart Creek Elementary and Lincoln Elementary was based on parent feedback through face-to-face meetings, parent phone calls and emails, and through the surveys that MISD sent out to all dual language families and teachers," MISD Director of Special Programs Jada Mullins said in an email. "Survey results were reviewed in detail and shared with campus principals and teachers. It is our desire to continue serving our dual language students through the current model and to continue to strengthen the program based on all of the feedback we received. We greatly appreciate the support and partnership we have with our Dual Language families and educators."

Parents who attended the meeting expressed relief and support of the decision. The issue has been ongoing since at least July, when Community Impact Newspaper first reported on MISD's announcement of the proposal to consolidate the program. Since then, the district has wavered on announcing a final decision. Parents did not know the fate of the program until Oct. 30.

“The children that attended [the Oct. 30 meeting] were so very happy to be able to stay at their home school,” said Amy Jones, parent of a dual-language program student.


MISD had proposed the consolidation primarily to tighten its budget, as Community Impact Newspaper previously reported, although the district has not indicated how much money could have been saved with the consolidation. According to the district, benefits of consolidating include increased teacher collaboration and planning; increased shared resources; and maximum use of facilities, transportation and staff.

Jones added she believes MISD’s decision not to consolidate was partially a result of efforts by parents of dual-language students. Parents showed up in droves to several school board meetings, including an Oct. 15 meeting where parents expressed concern that consolidation would lower program participation.

I’m fairly certain the district didn’t want or need more negative publicity—hence, part of the decision,” Jones said. “We were also told by a board member, in his three years [on the board], they have never seen such a passionate group of parents, with emails, texts, calls and speaking at board meetings.”

Parents also voiced support for MISD’s promise to provide better communication moving forward regarding the program—for example, having a Spanish-speaking person present at registration and promoting the program as a whole, Jones said.

Dual-language parent Christina Sato also voiced support and gratitude towards the superintendent and board of trustees.


"We are so pleased that our administrators will be working with teachers to hear their ideas on how to make the most effective improvements moving forward," Sato said in an email. "My hope is that the district will continue to rely on teachers’ input regarding the best possible strategies for success in the classroom, as every program and class has varying needs. While we understand the need to curb spending and minimize the deficit, we must always take into account how possible cuts and drastic changes could negatively effect our teachers and students."

However, Krista Patton, a dual-language parent, said that although she was happy with the result, she is concerned with what will happen to the program after the next school year. The district announced it will not consolidate the program for the 2020-2021 year, but it is unclear what might occur after.
By Eva Vigh
Eva Vigh joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 as a reporter for Spring and Klein. Prior to this position, she covered upstream oil and gas news for a drilling contractors' association.


MOST RECENT

Protesters peacefully gathered in downtown Conroe on May 31. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
This week in photos, May 31-June 6: Black Lives Matter protests sweep across Montgomery County

Peaceful protests took place in Conroe, The Woodlands and Kingwood.

The county has reported 1,064 total cases of COVID-19. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery County reports 28th death related to COVID-19; recoveries continue to rise while hospitalizations fall

Nearly 600 county residents have recovered from COVID-19 as of June 5, while the county's hospitalization rate reached its lowest point this spring.

Demonstrators gathered at the Texas Capitol on May 31 to protest police brutality. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Protests throughout Houston and more: Popular stories from this week

Read the latest news from the Greater Houston area on Community Impact Newspaper’s website.

The district faces a $2.8 million budget deficit and cannot afford raises next year, but teachers are reportedly leaving the district for higher-paid jobs in neighboring districts. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Montgomery ISD CFO: Budget has a 'staff problem,' not a 'stuff problem'

Montgomery ISD faces two major financial challenges as it finalizes its 2020-21 budget: a potential $2.8 million deficit, and underpaid teachers and staff.

Raveneaux Country Club was one of thousands of properties that flooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. (Courtesy Harris County Flood Control District)
Houston Office of Emergency Management shares hurricane prep tips as Gulf storm nears landfall

With a storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico and expected to make landfall in Louisiana by Sunday and with a global pandemic still spreading, officials and residents are changing how they prepare for a more active hurricane season.

Lake Conroe's Margaritaville will open June 26. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
FIRST LOOK: Margaritaville prepares to open Lake Conroe resort

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville is preparing to bring a slice of paradise to the Lake Conroe area June 26 with the opening of its first Texas location.

SNAP, a federal program overseen in Texas by the HHSC, assists around 1.4 million eligible low-income individuals and families statewide. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Emergency SNAP food benefits extended in Texas during COVID-19 pandemic

SNAP assists around 1.4 million eligible low-income individuals and families in Texas.

A woman in her 60s from Spring died while in the hospital. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County reports 27th coronavirus-related death; active cases down by 8

A woman in her 60s from Spring died while in the hospital.

CMS also unveiled an interactive map that lets users search any nursing home in the U.S. to see its COVID-19 cases. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
CMS reports 321 coronavirus deaths in Texas nursing homes, nearly 32,000 nationwide

CMS also unveiled an interactive map that lets users search any nursing home in the U.S. to its COVID-19 cases.

The Transportation and Global Logistics Technology Center opened June 1, with a grand opening ceremony held via video conference on June 4. (Courtesy Lone Star College System)
Lone Star College System announces Transportation and Global Logistics Technology Center opening

The Lone Star College Transportation and Global Logistics Technology Center officially opened June 1.

Conroe City Council approved the municipal utility districts for the Keystone development May 28. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Development to add more than 12,000 homes to Conroe area

The development will cater to single-family residences with lot sizes between 50 and 60 feet wide, with prices ranging $250,000-$350,000. There is also space on the property set aside for commercial development and a multifamily residence.

Montgomery ISD teachers can expect further instruction from campus principals July 1 on returning to classrooms. (Courtesy Pexels)
Montgomery ISD to bring select staff, athletics back June 8

On July 1, campus principals will communicate with staff and teachers to determine access to buildings and procedures for returning.