As a bilingual education teacher at Barrington Elementary School, Ray Mata knows a thing or two about language barriers.

Like many of his colleagues in the Austin, Texas, Independent School District, where more than half of the school system's 82,000 students are Hispanic and at least 20 percent do not speak English as their native language, Mata is constantly looking for new approaches to get his students on par with their English-speaking classmates.

So when he


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