• Philosophy


    In the 2000-2001 school year, Wharton became Houston Independent School District’s first Dual Language Magnet School, offering a two-way immersion program to all Spanish and English-speaking students in Kindergarten. Since that time, our program has grown to include all grades Pre-Kindergarten through 8th


    Language is essential to learning and must be taught within meaningful contexts. Language affects our social interactions and relationships and plays a vital role in the construction of meaning. It connects the curriculum and provides a vehicle for an inquiry-based classroom across the content areas. (IB MTPYPH: Language in the PYP) 


    Wharton’s dual language program fosters both English and Spanish speaking (PK-8) students to become bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural in both languages. It is an academic program that challenges students to learn the language skills of reading, writing, speaking & listening through inquiry-based, authentic learning within a content-based curriculum.




    Students in the lower grades at Wharton receive instruction primarily in Spanish regardless of their native language following the 80/20 two-way immersion dual language model. As the students progress in their academic career, the Spanish/English language emphasis is shifted to a 50% Spanish, 50% English model in content area instruction. Every teacher at Wharton holds a Bilingual and/or ESL certification ensuring that they have been trained in the methods of second language acquisition and learning. Student support is offered in a variety of ways. Some examples include tutoring during the school day by highly qualified bilingual teachers, after-school content area tutoring by teachers, staff and fellow students and after-school homework assistance.


    Professional Development

    Our faculty has many opportunities to continue professional development in the areas of dual language policy and practice through our partnership with UST and the HISD Multilingual Department.



    Upon entry into the program, students are assessed in English and Spanish, to determine their dominant language proficiency (used for placement — not admissions). Formal, state and district required assessments are taken during the year to monitor students’ developmental progress in both languages. These assessments include the Logramos, IOWA, Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS), and Houston Independent School District developed benchmark tests in reading, mathematics, social studies and science in both Spanish and English. Students are also assessed on language development throughout the units of inquiry using teacher observations, rubrics for assessing the development of transdisciplinary skills and through self-reflection. 


    Dual Language Model

    Following the guidelines set by the 80/20 Dual Language Model, the daily percentage of time students spend receiving instruction in each language is as follows: 





    Pre K





















    Wharton’s two-way bilingual program provides content area instruction and language development in both languages. In order to achieve the full benefits of two-way bilingual education, students from the two language backgrounds are in each class at a targeted 50/50 ratio, and they are integrated for all of their content instruction. Our program provides an environment that promotes positive attitudes toward both languages and cultures and is supportive of full bilingual proficiency for both native and non-native speakers of English. 



    All communication between the school and members of our community is available in both English and Spanish. If communication in other native languages is needed, the school will enlist the assistance of the HISD Translation Services Department and/or Multilingual Department.

    Native Language Support

    Both the preservation and development of mother tongues foster the celebration of diversity and enable cross-cultural awareness, appreciation, and understanding. They also enable the development of higher order cognitive skills, as well as enable people who are members of small cultural subgroups to maintain and transmit cultural identity within a multicultural community. (IB MTPYPH: Language in the PYP)


    Wharton DLA continues to collect books, donated by students and their families, in languages other than English and Spanish in our library. Our librarian will continue to increase the collection through purchases from district vendors. As noted above, we may solicit the help of both the HISD Multilingual Department and Translation Services for support with mother tongues other than English and Spanish for effective communication with all stakeholders. 




    *Policy Review: We will review our language policy at least every year. In collaboration with the faculty and community, this policy was reviewed in August/September 2023.