"When we belong, we learn," says Mary Ortiz, who teaches a bilingual first grade class at Pecos Elementary School in Pecos. Mrs. Ortiz's expertise in bilingual elementary education is motivated, in part, by her desire to recuperate her own cultural tradition. Her own childhood fluency in Spanish was greatly diminished when she attended an English-only high school. Today, she has "become a cultural intermediary," she says, "bringing the issues of our valley, our state, our country into the classroom." High test scores reflect the success of her creative approach. Her interdisciplinary strategies promote the understanding of similarities and differences in the multicultural classroom. For Mrs. Ortiz, pride in one's heritage breeds the self-confidence that leads to academic achievement.