JUNTXS with the Comunidad

A Collaboration across Two Universities and One School District


  • Maria Fernanda Ortega University of North Texas


Spanish literacy, community engagement, technology, virtual learning, university partnerships, English learners


In this column, a pre-service bilingual teacher from the University of North Texas shares her
journey with the Bilingual Homework Hotline—an online homework help platform created in
response to COVID-19’s impact in Denton’s Latinx community. She brings a unique perspective
as a Latina who has held positions as both volunteer and leader for homework help sessions
and who has conducted research with the Hotline to explore the interdisciplinary
collaboration between Denton ISD’s Bilingual/Dual Language & ESL Department, the
University of North Texas, and Texas Woman’s University. These roles allowed her to develop a
deeper understanding of what it means to be a critical ethnographer while developing critical
consciousness (Palmer et al., 2019) with the goal of contributing to what Ladson-Billings
(2021) calls the “hard reset.” This column contributes to the developing literature about
university and bilingual education program partnerships due to the unique nature of this


Cervantes-Soon, C. G., Dorner, L., Palmer, D., Heiman, D., Schwerdtfeger, R., & Choi, J. (2017). Combating Inequalities in Two-Way Language Immersion Programs: Toward Critical Consciousness in Bilingual Education Spaces. Review of Research in Education, 41(1), 403-427.https://doi.org/10.3102/0091732X17690120

Covey, S. (2014). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. Simon & Schuster.

Heiman, D., & Nuñez-Janes, M. (2021). “Research shows I am here for them": Acompañamiento as language policy activism in times of TWBE gentrification. Language Policy. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-020-09577-7

Ladson-Billings, G. (2021). I’m here for the hard re-set: Post pandemic pedagogy to preserve our

Culture. Equity & Excellence in Education, 54(1), 68-78.

Palmer, D., Cervantes-Soon, C., Dorner, & Heiman, D. (2019). Bilingualism, biliteracy, biculturalism…and critical consciousness for all: Proposing a fourth fundamental principle for two-way dual language education. Theory into Practice, 58(2), 121-133. https://doi.org/10.1080/00405841.2019.1569376

Sepúlveda III, E. (2011). Toward a Pedagogy of Acompañamiento: Mexican Migrant Youth Writing from the Underside of Modernity. Harvard Educational Review, 81(3), 550-572. https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.81.3.088mv5t704828u67

Sepúlveda III, E. (2018). Border Brokers: Teachers and Undocumented Mexican Students in Search of Acompañamiento. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, 12(2), 53-69. https://doi.org/10.1080/15595692.2017.1408584

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Invited Column: Biliteracy in Texas