Dual-Language Pilot Approved for Early Education Programs

LOS ANGELES (April 18, 2017)  - Promoting the benefits of learning multiple languages at a young age, the Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution today to pilot dual-language immersion instruction in early education programs, beginning in 2017-18.

The resolution by Board Member Ref Rodriguez calls on the superintendent to develop a plan to introduce dual-language immersion to programs, such as preschool and transitional kindergarten, with the long-term goal of expanding the instruction across L.A. Unified.

“I am committed to providing public school students with high-quality and innovative programs,” said Dr. Rodriguez said. “I am proud of this resolution and the dual-language immersion pilot in early-childhood education that will act as the solid foundation that students need to become bilingual, biliterate and competitive in our global economy.” 

Dual-language immersion programs offer instruction throughout the school day in both English and a second language. For students who are non-native English speakers, the immersion program allows them to more quickly reclassify as proficient in English while retaining their home language. The immersion programs also serve native English-speakers seeking to acquire skills in multiple languages.

Research has shown that children are better able to master multiple languages beginning at an early age. In addition to improving communication, learning a second language can also help youngsters develop stronger problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

L.A. Unified currently offers 87 dual-language immersion programs in elementary, middle and high schools, and 16 more have been approved for this fall. Fourteen of the programs will be in Spanish; the others will be Armenian and Mandarin.

With the creation of a pilot program, L.A. Unified will become the largest school district in California to offer a dual-language immersion pathway for Pre-K students. The District’s leadership, in offering opportunities to build bilingualism and biliteracy among its youngest students, can impact schools across California and promote educational practices that produce graduates with skills that prepare them to thrive in the global economy.

“We prepare global leaders in Los Angeles,” said School Board Member Mónica García, who co-sponsored the measure. “We look forward to increasing the numbers of future multilingual L.A. Unified A-G graduates!”

At the request of Board Member Mónica Ratliff, another co-sponsor, a pilot will be established in each of the seven board districts.

“It is such a pleasure to be a co-sponsor of Dr. Rodriguez's resolution,” Ms. Ratliff said.
“I greatly appreciate that the pilot will take place in every board district. Board District 6 has several dual-language programs in Spanish and Armenian, and I know parents will appreciate such programs starting in Early Childhood Education.” 

The District has also formed a committee to plan the implementation of Proposition 58, the voter-approved initiative that will make bilingual programs more accessible to students and families.

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Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766