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Home News-Telegram News SSISD: New bilingual director brings 3 decades of experience

SSISD: New bilingual director brings 3 decades of experience

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Mention learning a foreign language, and most people these days think of their high school language class or the Rosetta Stone program. Sulphur Springs Independent School District’s new English as a second language and bilingual director not only is familiar with both, but has been instrumental in shaping not only curriculum materials but legislation for each.

Shelley Wright Patterson’s experience in Spanish and bilingual education spans three decades from grade school classes to college campuses, publishing, advocacy and curriculum development.

SSISD is very fortunate to have someone of such high caliber in the bilingual/English as a second language fields serving the district, said SSISD Director of Human Resources and Communications Rusty Harden.

“She is fluent in Spanish and speaks, reads and writes in Portuguese,” Harden noted.

Director of Elementary Education Betty Lawson introduced Patterson to district administrators during an August board meeting, noting her extensive background in the field.

“Thank you so much for this opportunity to serve,” Patterson said in greeting to the school board.

She attained a bachelor of arts in Spanish and a master of arts in bilingual education/English as a second language, and has an educational doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in language acquisition.

“I have had the privilege of teaching Spanish in kindergarten through grade 12, as well as university courses. My goal has been to experience a broad range of teaching and learning environments in order to enhance my skills in curriculum development,” she noted.

At the University of North Texas, Patterson designed four courses in the bilingual specialization for school’s bilingual education department.

“I created these new courses of study to meet state certification standards. I also had the privilege of teaching these courses for three semesters,” she explained.

At Southern Methodist University, she taught graduate courses and was instrumental in development of master’s level bilingual education courses and certification programs.

“I had the opportunity to design the first dual language course for the master’s of bilingual education, align the existing course of study with state certification guidelines, created new courses to meet state certification standards for bilingual education and English as a second language, standardized the master of bilingual education and developed the master of bilingual education with an emphasis in gifted  and talented certification degree plan,” the SSISD bilingual/ESL program director noted.

She also recently taught graduate education courses at Wayland Baptist University in Lubbock.

Patterson also secured $10 million in grants from private and public sectors, worked on dual language legislation for the state of Texas and served as the legislative chair for the Texas Association for Bilingual Education.

In addition to helping shape dual language legislation and curriculum, Patterson during the last 18 years has also helped develop textbook materials, served as a dual language/ESL advocate and continued to assist in curriculum development.

She helped development of the first Dual Language Program for Early Childhood. 

“I also worked with Pearson to create a package for English as Second Language Learners in sixth through 12th grade that aligned with the new Texas English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS). I then became the lead presenter and trainer as consultant coordinator for Pearson.  At Rosetta Stone, as the director of curriculum, higher education, North America, I divided my time in designing presentations, presenting professional development and training, review of literature in the field of technology, onsite consultations and developing empirical research studies. I also created a Curriculum Design and Service Offering for the K-12 vertical,” she noted.

“My passion for curriculum development and teacher training is exhibited in my advocacy to ensure that all learning flourishes in an environment of enrichment,” she said.

She plans to apply that passion and knowledge gleaned over the last three decades as she oversees the bilingual education/ESL programs at SSISD.




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