Baldwin Park Unified School District and Redwood City School District have been selected as recipients of the 2016 Multiple Pathways to Biliteracy District Recognition Award. The Californians Together award celebrates districts that are leading the way to world-class language education in preschool through 12th grade. District teams will receive these awards at the 41st annual conference of the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) on March 25, 2016 in San Francisco.
“Together we hope to inspire the development of strong dual language programs, multiple opportunities and comprehensive pathways enabling all students to reach the goal of high levels of proficiency in two or more languages,” explained Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez, President of Californians Together.
Both districts met multiple criteria to qualify:
- Two years of an established State Seal of Biliteracy Program (grades 9-12)
- System of benchmarking progress toward high levels of biliteracy by recognizing and awarding student along a continuum (grades K-8)
- Well articulated pathway programs PreK – 12th grade
- Access to language study across the district and accessible to all communities
- Hiring qualified staff
- Instituted a district, school and community culture for celebrating languages and cultural diversity
Baldwin Park Unified School District: Upon learning about their selection for this award, Superintendent Froilan N. Mendoza stated, “The vision of the Baldwin Park Unified School District is to ensure that students are prepared for college and or a career in a global economy. We understand that students will require 21st Century skills, but also multilingual and multicultural competencies that are critical in our diverse global society. I am proud of our District, Board of Education, staff, and community for embracing programs that build the foundation of success for our students.”
The district value for biliteracy is demonstrated by its multiple pathways to biliteracy in preschool; in five elementary schools, one junior high school, one middle school, and one high school. In the 2016-17 school year the program will open at one more high school to allow for equitable access for all students in the district. World language courses at the high school are available in Spanish, Mandarin and French with the Seal of Biliteracy recognition in Spanish Mandarin and Vietnamese.
Students at the middle school form Dual Language clubs and hold Dual Language forums to discuss world issues and concerns. At the high school level, students enter into the Chicano Studies Program. Study trips are provided to Los Angeles to dig into a deeper culture component of many races and culture. 9th grade students are also given the opportunity to attend the Sal Castro leadership retreat during the summer.
Redwood City School District: Expressing their vision and philosophy is Superintendent, Dr. John Baker, “This award is accepted on behalf of the Redwood City School District personnel. We are deeply committed to ensuring our students are prepared for what the future holds. We know we must develop students’ knowledge of multiple languages to be prepared for the 21st Century workplace while creating educational opportunities that provide for rigorous and joyful learning”.
Redwood City School District exemplifies the vision and philosophy by offering bilingual programs in PreK – 8th grade in Spanish and Mandarin. Where other school districts have decreased or eliminated bilingual programs, over the last four years, the Redwood City School District has approved a restructuring of an Early Exit model to a Maintenance Bilingual program model. The Board also approved two new Two-way Immersion programs, one Mandarin Immersion and one Spanish Immersion. Both program models are 90:10 program models, further demonstrating their commitment and goal to develop students who attain high levels of language and academic achievement in two languages. Their vision for the middle school is to become a World Language Middle Schools with language options in Spanish and Mandarin. Biliteracy Pathway Awards are given to students in elementary school who demonstrate proficiency and high academic achievement in English and Spanish.
A Californians Together publication, The California Campaign for Biliteracy (hotlink), provides details on the campaign whose goal is that California be an example for the nation in preparing students for college and the careers of the future. The publication describes multiple pathways to biliteracy, provides guidance for districts to develop comprehensive language programs, and describes award eligibility criteria.