Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet
Wichita, Kansas

Vanessa Martinez has spent more than 23 years of my educational career at Horace Mann, which is the same school she attended herself. “For me, it’s a privilege to be a part of this award winning school’s history while giving back to the community,” Martinez says.

Horace Mann Dual Language Magnet’s mission is to produce bilingual, bi-literate students who value different cultures and can problem-solve in order to be successful in the diverse world we live in. Educators provide instruction for students to engage in learning in both Spanish and English. Students participate in a rigorous standards based curriculum.

Horace Mann was founded on the principles of the Gomez and Gomez Dual Language Enrichment Model. Initially, only a few principles of the model were implemented. Under Martinez’s leadership, the decision was made to fully implement this language enrichment model and to provide corresponding professional development to support the teachers and staff in implementing the model to the fullest extent.

This included in-depth workshop training for all staff. Teachers also participated in summer “classroom makeovers” that emphasized providing rich environments that included visual cues such as word walls and student-generated alphabet as well as teaching educators how to provide rich and robust vocabulary instruction for students. Teachers learned how to develop equitable groupings for bilingual learning pairs that are meant to promote collaboration and student-centered classrooms. These enhancements to the program lend themselves to promoting students to develop a strong base in their first language in the primary grades in order to make the transition to dual literacy in the intermediate grades.

Martinez also values communication and recognition. She believes it’s important not to just call parents when there are problems and concerns, but more to share good news and let parents know
when their child has accomplished something great if done well.

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