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UTRGV, PSJA ISD, Harlingen CISD awarded nearly $100K for bilingual enrichment courses

National Endowment

PHARR – Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) recently announced that the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in partnership with Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD and Harlingen CISD have been awarded a $99,991 grant by the National Endowment of the Humanities to design and organize culturally relevant Social Studies curriculum in English and Spanish for Kinder through 5th grade students.

Project SSTARC (Social Studies Through Authentic and Relevant Content) is a two-year collaborative project between the Center for Bilingual Studies and the Center for Mexican American Studies at UTRGV and the local school districts. The project aims to provide an opportunity for elementary school (kindergarten through 5th grade) teachers to gain better knowledge of local and regional history, create relevant social studies content for their students in both English and Spanish, and disseminate the content on a wide scale to enrich the schooling experience of students by introducing them to authentic and relevant humanities content early on in their lives.

As part of the grant, 21 teachers in PSJA ISD and Harlingen CISD will be taking part in the development of curriculum that will include Mexican American Studies lessons.

“We are so grateful to be awarded this grant,” said PSJA Dual Language Enrichment Program Director Olivia Martinez. “This grant is important for our community because it will further enrich the history and culture of our students.”

At PSJA ISD over 14,000 students are currently enrolled in the district’s nationally recognized PSJA Dual Language Program. Through a rigorous curriculum, students who participate in the program are academically instructed in English and Spanish, from Pre-Kinder to 12th grade. As a result, students have the opportunity to master both languages and enhance their education by developing the ability to fluently speak, read, write, and think critically in English and Spanish, which allows them to compete successfully in a global economy.

“We must immerse young minds in social studies without limitations,” Congressman Gonzalez said in a press release. “I am grateful this new funding will help Project SSTARC prevail in breaking down language barriers and building up student academic success.”