The HILO™ program was created by The Overton Group on the assumption that all kids can benefit from learning a second language and that language can help students become aware of their cultural commonalities and embrace their individual uniqueness. Early Elementary students can also benefit from developmentally appropriate opportunities to build social and academic skills through stimulating activities.
The impetus for the program, was the realization that students in predominantly Black and Brown schools in Austin, were not being offered equal access to dual language programming that promises students will, "excel academically while becoming bilingual, biliterate and bicultural" (1).
The program is designed to offer students (native and non native speakers) enhanced learning opportunities through songs, games, art, and other activities by which language can be developed and vocabulary practiced. These activities are implemented in large and small-group configurations balanced with individual attention and one-on-one activity.
In addition, the HILO™ Parent Manual is a tool for parents to support their children's journey with the HILO™ Curriculum while describing advantages their children will experience such as facilitating flexibility of the brain, developing higher-order thinking skills, and building respect for other cultures.
The Overton Group was established in 2007 with the vision of bridging cultures and promoting an understanding of others through language. Program implementation began as a pilot program grant from the City of Austin, Department of Health and Human Services; subsequently matched by the Travis County Health and Human Services and Veteran Services Department. Through these grants The Overton Group sought to improve the cognitive learning capacity of students by Spanish language enrichment at the preschool age in low income areas of Austin. The Overton Group developed the HILO™ Curriculum (Harmonious Intervention through Language Opportunities), as a method for cross-cultural learning. The curriculum is currently being implemented in K and 1st grade classrooms at the Texas Empowerment Academy .
The Overton Group is committed to providing our instructors with high quality training that focuses on decolonizing our classroom environments. We strive to provide the students and families we serve with academic and emotional support to help build the foundation for deeper learning. By starting with building relationships and infusing positivity and respect into all of our interactions, we believe students can more easily embrace the languages we seek to teach them.
Currently vacant, President
Randal Whittington, Vice President
Stacy Offord, Secretary
Audrey Mackey, Ph. D., Treasurer
Kara Ardis, At-Large
Maureen Carlson, At-Large
Daffney Henry, At-Large