LOS ANGELES (March 14, 2017) — The Board of Education voted unanimously today to celebrate the expansion of bilingual and multicultural education, while creating pathways to recruit and train teachers who can support the new generations of learners.
Introduced separately, the two board resolutions dovetail to spotlight efforts that increase student opportunities to learn in more than one language. The issue has taken on new urgency with the voter approval of Proposition 58, a new state law that gives school districts greater authority to develop their own bilingual, dual-language and multilingual programs.
“National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month allows us to recognize the many successful and expanding dual language and bilingual programs in schools across the District,” said Board Member Mónica Ratliff, who co-sponsored the resolution.
“Mountain View Elementary School’s Dual Language Armenian/English program and Vista Del Valle Academy’s Dual-Language Spanish/English program are just two examples of the fantastic programs that exist in L.A. Unified,” Ratliff said. “As National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month progresses, I look forward to learning more about the efforts of the Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department in supporting high-quality opportunities for students to develop bilingualism and multilingualism.”
Board President Steve Zimmer, Vice President Dr. George McKenna and Board Member Dr. Ref Rodriguez co-sponsored the resolution.
“L.A. Unifed’s support of National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month highlights the District’s commitment to diversity and unlocking the full potential of each learner, no matter what their language background is,” Board Member Dr. Rodriguez said. “Let’s celebrate and extend awareness of the positive impact bilingual and multilingual education has on student achievement in April.”
Board Member Mónica García added her support to the celebration of diversity.
“We celebrate multicultural and multilingual students and families,” she said. “We are a global district, and we are proud to celebrate April as National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month.”
Dr. Frances Gipson, the District’s chief academic officer, said that enhancing L.A. Unified’s language programs will help students become globally competitive.
“With more than 100 multilingual programs, L.A. Unified embraces the ways in which language transforms opportunities locally and globally,” she said. “Language connects us, builds bridges and opens infinite possibilities for our students.”
The Arts Education Branch and the Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department will launch a campaign next month, challenging schools to produce videos demonstrating their appreciation of bilingual and multilingual students. Outstanding entries will be featured during a dual-language conference scheduled for April 29 at Franklin High School.
Board President Zimmer, Board Vice President McKenna and Board Member Rodriguez also co-sponsored the resolution seeking a plan for how L.A. Unified will implement Proposition 58, including the hiring of additional bilingual teachers. The resolution suggests the expansion of the District’s existing career ladder and high school teaching academies, as well as new recruiting and training initiatives.
District leaders have already formed a task force that has met regularly since December to address the issues related to Proposition 58, which takes effect on July 1.
The resolution asks Superintendent Michelle King to report to the board on the progress of the task force, as well as plans for new programs, before the state releases its 2017-18 budget in May.
“With the passage of Proposition 58, we are now in an exciting new era of demand for bilingual and multilingual education,” Board Member Dr. Rodriguez said. “Through this resolution, we are being proactive in securing a pathway for the next generation of multilingual teachers who will help ensure our students have the language skills necessary to be successful in a globalized world.”
Board Member Garcia was excited about the opportunity to reinforce L.A. Unified’s teaching corps.
“We have great teachers in the movement toward 100 percent graduation and we will need more in the future,” she said. “Amazing teachers who believe in every child’s ability to achieve will always be welcomed in our classrooms.”
Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766