Puente de Hózhó Trilingual Magnet School
Puente de Hozho (PdH) Elementary School is a trilingual language school located in Flagstaff, Arizona and is a part of the Flagstaff Unified School District. PdH is comprised of a Navajo Immersion Language Program and a Spanish-English bilingual program and is a K-5 school. Featured in the Harvard Education Review for "best practices" for culturally sustaining and revitalizing teaching, PdH holds a radical belief in the potential of children, culture, and language in a local, regional, national, and global context.
Puente de Hozho evolved in response to specific ideals for public schooling. The idea was to create an educational environment where students of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds could learn harmoniously together while pursuing “the Power of Two,” or the ability to speak, read, and write proficiently in two languages. On a grander scale, the vision was to create a school where each child’s language and culture was regarded not as a problem to be solved but as an indispensable resource, the very heart and soul of the school itself. Such a school could be a symbiotic juggernaut, mutually beneficial to all: English speakers would learn Spanish, Spanish speakers would learn English, Navajo children would acquire their tribal language, and all students would interact in a pluralistic setting and achieve academically at a high and meaningful level.
Puente de Hozho has three primary goals: Academic excellence, Bilingualism, and Cultural enrichment. Upon enrollment, students choose either the Spanish/English or the Navajo/English program. A two-way immersion model is used in the Spanish/English program, and a one-way immersion model is used in the Navajo/English program. Both programs merge for English language instruction in our fourth and fifth grade classrooms. Nonetheless, bilingual education is the reason the school exists, and the goals of the school and those of the two programs are inseparable.