SABE teaches biliteracy using a dual language immersion program teaching Spanish and English. Teachers are trained and licensed to teach more than the typical educational program. Through using best practice in language teaching, teachers use strategies and methods to help students acquire the language, whichever they are learning. SABE's students will achieve proficiency in both English and Spanish to a degree that provides competency for real-life and academic situations.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, one in five people in Rio Rancho speaks a language other than English at home. One in six speaks Spanish at home. Historically, ELLs in Rio Rancho have had English and math proficiency levels that are about half of those who speak English as a native language. By teaching children to read in their home language, Spanish, we close the achievement gap by giving them a jump on literacy that is easily transferable to English.
But what about native English speakers? A study performed in 2013 by Virginia Diaz and Faye Karp at the University of Massachusetts Boston found that "Spanish’s shallow orthography (pronouncing a word exactly as spelled) makes learning to decode text easier for young learners, and may be beneficial to learning English." In addition, Diaz and Karp found that both native English speakers and native Spanish Speakers "have higher Spanish proficiency outcomes at the end of the program in 90/10 than in 50/50, with no detriment to English in the long run." At the end of the program, those students who participated in the study were proficient in Spanish, but just as importantly, they had high English proficiency levels, indicating that Spanish added to, not detracted from, English.