Bilingual, Biliterate, Bicultural Conference Set at TAMIU March 28-29

What does it mean to be bilingual, bicultural and biliterate today?

That's the subject of a two-day conference, "Bilingual, Biliterate, & Bicultural: Goals Within our Reach," at Texas A&M International University March 28-29, 2003.

Dr. Rosa Maria Vida, dean of the TAMIU College of Education, said the Conference theme underscores organizers goals of training bilingual teachers to implement strong forms of bilingual education programs.

"Through this professional development opportunity, we hope to help teachers become more aware of the methodologies and strategies that will develop proficiencies in languages as well as to develop the academic language proficiency skills that help bilingual students to achieve academic success," Dr. Vida explained.

Dr. Miroslava Vargas is a Conference organizer and associate professor of education with TAMIU's College of Education. She said the Conference is the first regional bilingual education conference of its kind in Laredo.

"We wanted to take an opportunity to address the needs of our diverse student populations in terms of equity and to assist them to maximize their academic success," Dr. Vargas explained.

Current teachers, students planning on entering the career and administrators, should find the Conference of interest, she noted.

Conference cost is $40.00 per participant and includes a luncheon on Saturday. Registration is on a first come-first served basis and can be coordinated by calling any of the following: TAMIU: Patricia Lozano, 326.2688; Laredo Independent School District: Romeo Romero, 795-3459; United Independent School District, Patricia Uribe, 717.6248 or Yolanda Rodriguez at the Texas Migrant Council, 722.5174.

Proceeds from the Conference support TAMIU Bilingual Education Student Scholarships. In addition to presentations by guest lecturers, interest sessions will be offered on the Conference theme. A panel of administrators from local school districts will present their progress on dual language programs.

Highlights of the Conference will include:

March 28 - 5:30-6:30 p.m. - Keynote speaker Maria Seidner, Texas Education Agency director of Bilingual Education speaking on an overview of the current status of bilingual education in Texas.

March 29 - (12:30-1:30 p.m.) - Dr. Arnulfo Ramirez, a Louisiana State University professor, will present Developing Bilingual Proficiency: Challenges and Opportunities. Dr. Ramirez is widely published and the author of four books in the area of second language acquisition, Spanish in the United States, bilingualism, text linguistics and discourse analysis.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Vargas at 326. 2684 or by e-mail at mvargas@tamiu.edu.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The University will observe Spring Break March 10-14.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu