Another important function of the BME Department is to provide guidance to schools in the implementation of bilingual programs for both ELs and non-ELs. Bilingual programs in LCPS benefit all students but provide critical supports for ELs.

Giving ELs access to content and language instruction in student’s first language allows them the opportunity to maintain and develop the home language. Two bilingual education models are approved for implementation in the Las Cruces Public Schools. Please note that one or both models may exist in any particular school. The goals of each program are to develop bilingual, biliterate and bicultural students who achieve academic excellence in Spanish and English.

Dual Language Bilingual Programs (For EL and Non-EL Students)

Dual Language programs foster bilingualism, biliteracy, enhanced awareness of linguistic and

cultural diversity, and develop strong cognitive, social, and emotional identity. Dual Language programs are “additive” language programs that are supportive of strong language development and proficiency in English and another language. In the case of LCPS, the other language is Spanish.

According to the National Dual Language Consortium (, dual language programs must extend for at least five years.

Las Cruces Public Schools (LCPS) will adhere to the 50/50 dual language model approved and funded by New Mexico’s Public Education Department (NMPED). Las Cruces Public Schools dual language model will be in alignment with New Mexico’s Public Education Department (See Bilingual Multicultural Education Programs Technical Assistance Manual, p. 30, March, 2017).

The 50/50 dual language model is designed to develop additive bilingualism and bi-literacy, in English and Spanish. The major goals of the dual language bilingual model are for students to develop full proficiency in both languages, including:

  • Bi-literacy in all subject areas
  • Cross-cultural skills development
  • High academic achievement
Maintenance Bilingual Programs (For EL Students Only)

This model serves only EL students whose first language is Spanish. The student’s home language is viewed as a resource from which proficiency in English can be attained while maintaining their native language. The instructional time for ELs in this program is 1-hour of Spanish language instruction with the remaining courses taught in English including a STRUCTURED ELD time of at least 45 to 60 minutes.

Spanish Language Assessments

In addition to the above assessments, students in bilingual programs (maintenance and dual language) must also take the following.

Istation: ISIP™ Reading, ISIP™ Español

The purpose of ISIP™ Español/Reading is to assist educators in dual language and maintenance classrooms to identify each student’s overall reading ability and individual skill ability, document progress, and implement effective reading instruction.

English Learners (ELs) who are participating in a dual language or maintenance program are assessed with the ISIP™ Español according to the following criteria:

  • Grade K-2 students (3 times/year)
  • Grade 3 students who participated in K3+ (3 times/year)

ELs who are NOT enrolled in a bilingual DO NOT need to take ISIP™ Español because they are NOT provided instruction in Spanish.

IDEA Proficiency Test (IPT)

The IPT measures the language proficiency of Kindergarten through twelfth-grade students in Spanish. The tests are designed for the purpose of bilingual program placement and annual progress monitoring of Spanish language proficiency.

There are three subtests at each grade band: 1) listening and speaking (oral); 2) reading; and 3) writing. Students take each subtest until proficiency in each subtest is reached. For example, a student who scores Fluent Spanish Speaking (FSS) on the oral subtest, but does not score competent on the writing and/or reading no longer has to take the oral subtest, but continues to take the writing and/or reading annually until scoring competent in those areas.

Only certified teachers who are fluent in Spanish can administer and score the IPT.

Initial Placement

Once parents enroll their child in a maintenance program or a dual language program, the IPT is administered to the students to determine proficiency levels in Spanish. This includes Non-ELs who participate in a dual language program.

ELs who are NOT enrolled in a bilingual program DO NOT take the initial IPT because they are NOT provided instruction in Spanish.

Annual Progress Monitoring

All students participating in a maintenance program or a dual language program are tested annually with the IPT in January/February to monitor annual progress in Spanish proficiency. This includes Non-ELs who participate in a dual language program.

ELs who are NOT enrolled in a bilingual program DO NOT take the annual IPT because they are NOT provided instruction in Spanish.