(Houston’s also got an amazing Mandarin immersion school, more here.)

The Houston school board granted approval Thursday for the district to open one of the nation’s first public Arabic immersion elementary schools.

The new school reflects Superintendent Terry Grier’s push to graduate more bilingual students. The district opened a Mandarin Chinese immersion school in 2012 and plans to have about 50 schools with Spanish dual-language programs next year after doubling the number last year.

“The fact is, America is a really terrible example of learning two languages,” said school board member Harvin Moore, who sends his 10-year-old son to the Mandarin school. “I’m proud of the fact this district has done something about it.”

The Arabic school, to be housed at the old Holden Elementary near the greater Heights area, will start small next year, with slots for nearly 90 kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students. Officials with the Houston Independent School District said instruction will be split evenly between Arabic and English.

“It’s fabulous. It will open a lot of opportunities,” said Lina Sabouni, chairwoman of the education committee of the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce Houston chapter.

Please read more here.