Bi-literacy Training at Mattawa Elementary School

Mattawa Elementary received a three-session professional learning opportunity by Dr. Barbara Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy is the founder of GlobaLingo Education Consulting, LLC., a multilingual educator and advocate for equity. BK has served as a world language and bilingual education teacher, district administrator, national consultant, and state director. Fluent in English, German, and Spanish.

The three professional learning opportunity sessions were: 

  1. Similarities and Differences in Spanish vs. English Literacy Instruction
  2. Separation of Languages vs. Translanguaging: Teacher and Student Language Use in the Dual Language Classroom
  3. Principles for Coordinating SLA and ELA/ELD within the Biliteracy Block

These sessions helped ME staff understand bi-literacy instruction and the role it plays within a dual-language program. Teachers (both dual Language and non-dual), paraeducators, specialists, and administrators attended to deepen their understanding of the role Language plays in instruction.  Currently, Mattawa Elementary has four dual-language classrooms. 

Moving forward, dual language teachers in grades k-1 will continue working with Dr. Kennedy to map out the English and Spanish language art blocks' bi-literacy units.

Feedback from these sessions was great. WSD is hoping to bring Dr. Kennedy back to share her expertise with the rest of the district in the future. 


I am excited to learn more about the Spanish Language, in general. It is very interesting to learn about the similarities and differences between the two languages. It is also interesting to learn how people can use what they know in one Language to figure out something in another language and how I can support this as a teacher. - Amy Bare (Kinder English Lead Teacher & Dual Language Teacher)

Diving into the Dual Language Program last year, I've had so many questions. What am I supposed to be teaching? When am I supposed to be teaching it? What do I say to students if they don't say a word correctly? The list goes on and on. The first day of the Biliteracy training put me at ease because having already taught Dual Language for a year, I was able to make sense of similarities and differences in instruction but also the separation of languages. As I get more training, I will be able to map out instruction and be intentional about what is taught. - Rosa Tapia (Kinder Spanish Lead Teacher & Dual Language Teacher)

The facilitator (BK) was engaging and knowledgeable. She builds on the knowledge level of the participants. It was great to learn the current theories and research that is happening. It makes me excited to see the direction that our program is headed in and the opportunities that are being offered to our students.

Previously, most of my training has been in the Parallel Monolingualism Model. It was interesting to learn about the Holistic Bilingualism approach. It seems that students will flourish under this model. I was also excited to hear from the teachers about all of the practices that are already in place to support student learning. - Robin Speck (Counselor)

This was an amazing training. I loved learning how the students are using both English and Spanish in the classroom. What I thought was great advice was having alternating days of speaking Spanish and English. I run an attestation station and sometimes wonder how to address the students because I have the English language learners come through my door. When they don't respond to me in English, I try to speak to them in Spanish, but I really want to do right by them learning English. It was a ton of information and at times, I got lost, however, the training was amazing. - Sharee Zirker (PBIS Specialist)

Contact and learn more about Dr. Kennedy's work and initiatives at

These trainings were brought to Mattawa Elementary through a dual language implementation grant from OSPI. Mattawa Elementary is currently the only school offering a dual language program, WSD hopes are that it will continue to expand Dual Language in the other schools. 

Dual Language helps promote bilingualism and bi-literacy, high academic achievement levels, and cross-cultural competence. Students who participate in dual language education are associated with improved academic, linguistic, and emotional outcomes. It also provides opportunities for all students to gain valuable multilingual and cross-cultural skills that prepare them to thrive in today's global world.