PIONERAS is a collaborative project between TWU and the Denton Independent School District (Denton ISD) whose goal is to improve the language and literacy skills as well as the academic achievement of the over 1,700 Spanish dominant English Language Learners in schools with dual language programs. It is sponsored by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Project PIONERAS is designed to help meet the growing demand for educators in Texas, who possess high levels of academic literacy in both English and Spanish and understand biliteracy development in children. The Project takes a bipartite approach to dual language (DL) training by serving future bilingual teachers, and current teachers in Denton ISD, a medium-sized district with a growing bilingual population.

PIONERAS serves 42 pre-service teachers through:

  • high-quality Spanish language coursework on research-based methods in dual language education; and
  • a study abroad program that includes language and pedagogical coursework for further instruction in the Spanish language.

PIONERAS also serves 24 in-service teachers and their Spanish-speaking English Language Learners’ families through:

  • high-quality hybrid and online graduate coursework on methods, theories, and research-based DL strategies in Spanish;
  • completion of an M.Ed. or a Ph.D. degree for 10 in-service teachers;
  • family engagement activities;
  • dual language resource library; and
  • Family Literacy Academies.