Arlene Vigil Kramer, EdD brought bilingual education to Colorado and beyond. A Colorado native, she was also the first Latina to complete a Doctor of Education degree. Kramer began her career as a 2nd grade teacher in 1959 at Spann Elementary School in Pueblo where 80 percent of the students had limited English language skills. She designed the first Bilingual Instruction Curriculum for elementary student in Colorado. Post tests showed literacy improved for all students.
Kramer believed that students needed to develop depth in English language vocabulary to be able to speak English with their peers, then read and write in their second language. This approach was key to educational success and workforce training. She was a founding member and first Vice President of the Colorado Association for Bilingual and Bi-cultural Education (CABBE). The organization was instrumental in training bilingual educators and Colorado House Bill #1295 mandating Bilingual Education for Colorado Hispanic children for whom English is their second language.
Kramer continued expanding bilingual education at the high school and college levels, while continuing her own education. She completed master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Colorado. Kramer served as professor in Education and Reading at Metropolitan State College; Regional Director for the Federal HEW Office of Human Development, Region Vlll; Vice President of Instruction for Front Range Community College; Dean of the School of Professional Studies for Metropolitan State College. Kramer served on several boards, including the National Head Start Bilingual Programs Overview Board, the Child Welfare League of America, N.Y., and the National Council de La Raza.
In 1979, Kramer and other talented professionals founded “Adelante Mujer,” whose mission is to provide educational conferences, workshops, and symposia, preparing high school and college Latinas for the future workforce and a healthy lifestyle.
After retirement, Kramer continued to volunteer with women’s organizations focused on educational advancement of women, including P. E.O. International, which identifies women and girls for scholarships, loans and grants to complete their education. She has been an officer and serves on a state level committee.