Boston Public Schools

Boston dual-language high school plans expansion for younger grades

Muñiz Academy has been tasked with forming a team of students, staff and parents to draft an expansion proposal for the school committee in early winter

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More children at Boston Public Schools will soon be able to join the district's flagship dual-language program.

The Margarita Muñiz Academy is a Spanish language high school and is working to add seventh and eight grades by next year, in order for students to graduate with a stronger bilingual proficiency.

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"We want you to be here," Head of School and Founder Dania Vazquez said. "That's perhaps the most important criteria."

Vazquez has led the Bay State's first and only fully bilingual high school for over a decade.

"The need for this school is ever present," she said. "We are a diverse country and we need to recognize that. This is an asset."

Vazquez said that the model is being replicated at eight other primary-level schools in Boston. But now, Vazquez said, it's time to grow the Muniz Academy family and open its doors to seventh and eighth grades.

"We have students who are learning English for the first time," Vazquez said. "We have students who are actually learning Spanish for the first time, and then we have students who are in the middle."

Because of that, Vazquez wants her students to tap into that skill earlier and harness it to its fullest before graduation — which is exactly what Brittany Perez hopes to do.

"I feel like I developed a lot of skills that I need to speak good Spanish or professional Spanish," Perez said.

Muñiz Academy has been tasked with forming a team of students, staff and parents to draft an expansion proposal for the school committee in early winter.

And although the plan for now is to incorporate seventh and eighth grades to Muniz Academy's dual-language program, educators want to see more multilingual schools in the state — offering more languages to all grades.

"I think that opens many doors," Marilu Alvarado said, who is a teacher at the academy. "It gives them also a different perspective about life and culture."

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