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Ganado in Jackson County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Little School of the 400

 
 
Little School of the 400 Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 31, 2021
1. Little School of the 400 Marker
Inscription.  

The Little School of the 400 was an educational project developed to integrate Spanish-speaking school children into the mainstream public school population. The program sought to teach these children a vocabulary of 400 essential words to enable them to successfully complete the first grade.

Isabel Verver, a 17-year-old Ganado High School student, read an article in a Spring 1957 issue of Texas Outlook Magazine that expressed Felix Tijerina's desire for such a program. Tijerina was a successful Houston businessman as well as the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Verver contacted Tijerina and expressed her desire to implement such a program. Both Tijerina and Verver knew what it was like to be a first-grader unable to communicate with their teachers or fellow students, and hoped to remove that language barrier.

Baytown educator Elizabeth Burrus supplied a list of 400 vocabulary words to Tijerina that she had formulated from years of teaching bilingual students. Verver taught the pilot class in Ganado during the summer of 1957 and produced 60 "Graduates" in time for the fall
Little School of the 400 Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 31, 2021
2. Little School of the 400 Marker
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school term. Seeing Verver's success, LULAC established similar classes in towns such as Vanderbilt, Edna, Sugar Land, Aldine, Brookshire and Wharton for summer 1958. Tijerina and members of LULAC worked for passage of House Bill 51 during the 56th Texas Legislature. The bill established a state-sponsored program called preschool instructional classes for non-English speaking children and eliminated the need for the privately funded "Little Schools." Head Start and other federally-funded programs of the 1960s eventually took the place of the state-sponsored program.
 
Erected 2009 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 16128.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationHispanic Americans. A significant historical year for this entry is 1957.
 
Location. 29° 2.275′ N, 96° 30.881′ W. Marker is in Ganado, Texas, in Jackson County. Marker is at the intersection of South Fifth Street and West Rodgers Street, on the right when traveling south on South Fifth Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 310 South Fifth Street, Ganado TX 77962, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ganado (approx. ¼ mile away); La Bauve-Young-Payne Home (approx. 8.9 miles away); Macaroni Station (approx. 9 miles away); Early Jackson County
The view of the Little School of the 400 Marker from the road image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 31, 2021
3. The view of the Little School of the 400 Marker from the road
(approx. 9 miles away); The Famous Lavaca-Navidad Meeting of 1835 (approx. 9 miles away); Brackenridge Cemetery (approx. 9 miles away); Jackson County, C.S.A. (approx. 9 miles away); Confederates of Jackson County (approx. 9 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  Little School of the 400.
The Little School (Schools) of the 400 was an educational project developed in Texas by Felix Tijerina and the League of United Latin American Citizens during the 1950s. It sought to teach Spanish-dominant preschool children a speaking vocabulary of 400 basic English words so that they could overcome the language barrier and successfully complete the first grade. They would, it was urged, not have to repeat first grade, fall behind their classmates, become discouraged, and drop out at the alarming rate then prevalent among Mexican Americans in Texas public schools.  Source: The Handbook of Texas
(Submitted on February 7, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 7, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 33 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 7, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 8, 2021