Dual-language TAG school celebrates its grand opening in Pleasant Grove

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The School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove breaks new ground in many ways, the most prominent that it’s the first such school in Pleasant Grove and the district’s first Dual-Language TAG campus.

On Nov. 2, the new school celebrated its official dedication. Just like the school’s curriculum, speakers gave remarks in both English and Spanish.

Principal Ruby Ramirez said the school develops a strong pride for bilingual education that goes further than programs in traditional school settings.

“The energy behind our program is what pushes us to not only challenge the status quo, but create buy-in from all of our leaders, many of whom are present this morning, that would otherwise not exist,” Ramirez said.

District 4 Trustee Jaime Resendez praised the school for offering a high-quality school choice in Pleasant Grove.

“We know that we have talented students all over this district,” Resendez said. “We know we have very, very intelligent students in this community.”

He thanked Ramirez and her staff for developing the school and creating a welcoming environment, and thanked parents for their support of the new school.

“Focus on your studies,” he told students. “Read every single day. Our city needs you, our world needs you, our state needs you. You will always represent Pleasant Grove in a very positive manner.”

Chief Academic Officer Ivonne Durant said Dallas boasts extremely talented children, and there is a core of that talent in Pleasant Grove.

She acknowledged parents for putting their trust in the district, the new school and its teachers. She also noted the work it takes to launch a new school.

“Opening a new school is not easy,” Durant said. “You wonder, ‘What did I get myself into?’ And then you see the children come in, and you say, ‘This is why I did it. I believe in my children. This is pioneer work that is not being done in many places.’ ”

Parent Victor Aguilera said the school represents a new direction for the community.

“As Hispanics, we are a proud people,” Aguilera said. “We push our kids to do better, but not really guiding them to where we want them to be. The school shows a commitment from Dallas ISD, shows that our kids have a different opportunity, a different choice to move forward.”

Juan Bustamante, a fifth-grade science and social studies teacher at the school, was recently selected as its campus Teacher of the Year. He said he was born, raised, attended Dallas ISD schools and still lives in the community he grew up in.

He told students that their leadership will be important, because Latinos and African Americans are predicted to represent the majority of Americans for the first time by the year 2040.

“You are going to be between 28 and 31 years old,” Bustamante said. “You guys will be the first generation of students who will need to take on the responsibility of being the new leaders in science, technology, education, business, military, politics, math and any other careers you decide to pursue.”

He told students they should never give up, always try their best, not make excuses and always give 100 percent effort.

Ramirez echoed those sentiments before the ribbon was cut.

“It’s up to you to continue with your education,” she said. “Because that diploma is something no one can ever take away from you.”

A welcome was delivered by student Brisia Alderete. Fifth-graders performed a song, “Wade in the Water,” under the direction of music teacher Michael McFatter. The student broadcast team also streamed the dedication ceremony online, with students not inside the auditorium able to watch the event.

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