In recognition of April as National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month, L.A. Unified is showcasing stories and sharing strategies for celebrating the linguistic diversity of the nation’s second-largest school district.
The Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department teamed up with the Arts Education Branch to produce a video, “Language Connects Us All,” which spotlights how our students are using their home and newly acquired language to increase their understanding of others.
Schools are also being encouraged to create and upload their own 15- to 30-second videos, depicting ways in which students, staff, parents and other stakeholders are using multiple languages to create welcoming environments and inclusive campuses.
Other strategies for observing Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month are outlined in a resolution approved last month by the Board of Education. For instance, schools could hold an assembly recognizing students who have achieved proficiency in another language or earned a District Biliteracy Award. They are also create a display celebrating bilingual and multilingual staff members or educate parents about the dual-language and bilingual opportunities available to students.
L.A. Unified offers 65 dual-language immersion programs, in which students are learning Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Arabic and Armenian. Five schools are offering foreign-language instruction in Spanish, Mandarin and French while 17 others have bilingual programs in Spanish or Korean. Even more programs will be added in 2017-18 as the District implements voter-approved Proposition 58, which provides more flexibility and control over multilingual and biliteracy programs.
“By cultivating bilingual and multilingual education, we equip our students to become global citizens who appreciate the world’s rich diversity while still taking pride in their own cultures and heritage,” Superintendent Michelle King said.