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U.S. Dept. of Education Visits El Paso


Your bilingualism and your biculturalism is your super power. Said by Miguel Cardona, Secretary of US Dept. of Ed.


Montserrat Garibay, from the U.S. Department of Education, speaks to hundreds of parents and teachers at the West Texas Reading Symposium hosted at the Starlight Event Center in El Paso, TX.



CLICK HERE to see WTRS pictures.



FEB. 10 & 11, 2023


El Paso, Texas (February 15, 2023)— Montserrat Garibay, from the United States Department of Education, was the keynote speaker at the Education Service Center Region 19’s annual West Texas Reading Symposium on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, 2023, hosted at the Starlight Event Center. In an emotional presentation, Garibay shared her journey from being a young child immigrant from Mexico City and an emergent language student in the U.S. to becoming a teacher and now an advocate of bilingual education on a national level. Garibay is the Acting Assistant Deputy Education Secretary and Director for the Office of English Language Acquisition and Senior Advisor for Labor Relations at the US Department of Education.


  Garibay spoke about the importance of bilingual education and the positive impact it can have on student success. She talked about the importance of inviting parents into the classroom and utilizing their language and other assets, such as background knowledge, to create a collaborative and effective learning environment for students. "Biliteracy is an essential skill for the global competitiveness of our students in the 21st century," Garibay said. "We see biliteracy as a tool of's a necessity for our kids to succeed in the world."


  Garibay's presentation at the symposium was representative of the US Department of Education's stance on bilingual education. The Department has allocated grants specifically to support bi-literacy and multi-lingual/bilingual education, and provides research and fact-based information at the national level to school districts.


"Your bilingualism and your biculturalism is your super power" - Miguel Cardona, 12th US secretary of Education, US Department of Education.


 Additionally, the Department is bright spotting schools that are doing bilingual/multi-lingual education programs well. Garibay visited schools in El Paso, TX, before the conference to observe successful dual language programs in action. She was impressed with the academic rigor in both languages and the students' performance. "It's fantastic to see prime examples of great dual language programs. These schools are proving that it can be done and it can be done well," said Garibay.


CLICK HERE to see video of Del Valle High School visit.




Garibay visited San Elizario Independent School District's Loya Primary School and Sambrano Elementary School which have exemplary dual language programs.



The West Texas Reading Symposium offered two days of engaging keynote speakers and breakout sessions. The first day focused on building strong literacy practices in the home, with sessions held in English and Spanish for parents and an afternoon session for teachers featuring keynote presenter Dr. Monica Lara, author of "Toma La Palabra".

“She's amazing! (Lara) Very entertaining, informative and motivating," said Mary Muñoz, Eastwood High School teacher, Ysleta ISD. "I'm going to use all the strategies I learned today."


The second day focused on the science of reading in the elementary school setting, with research-based breakout sessions that included biliteracy facilitated by scholars in the field.

Overall, the symposium was a great success, with participants from across the region attending and expressing their appreciation for the high-quality speakers and engaging sessions. "It's an excellent conference! Even though I have alot of years experience, it's fantastic to learn new strategies…It's all very invigorating- the fantastic speakers and engaging with other teachers from across the region," said Ana Patricia Jobe, Pre-K teacher at Loma Verde Elementary School, Socorro ISD.


Dr. Jose Velasquez, ESC19 Director of Academic Instruction and School Support, noted that literacy is an integral component in any academic subject, and that student success can be achieved through a synergy between parents, students, and administrators coming together to support literacy and language for all students. “Every year this conference has grown and we expect it to keep growing," said Dr. Velasquez. “This conference creates learning opportunities for ALL.” Hundreds of parents and teachers attended the 2023 WTRS conference.


Next year’s conference will be held on Feb. 24th at the Starlight Event Center. For more information visit


-For information about ESC 19 or this news story, please contact:

Sandra Valladolid, ESC19 Marketing Coordinator,, 915-780-5074