We are fortunate to teach and live in an area with such diversity, where being bilingual or multilingual is seen as an asset rather than a deficit.
Every April the Santa Clara County Office of Education celebrates National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month by hosting an event for educators, local and state politicians, school board members, students, families, and community members. The emphasis this year was “Celebrating Culture and Language”. The County Office described California as “leading the nation in the diversity of its students and families” and being “home to many languages and cultures, a rich tapestry woven from recent immigrants to families of ancestors reaching back centuries.”
In Sunnyvale School District (SSD) we believe that celebrating each culture and language in our community is the key to powerful learning for our students and their families. We are proud champions and advocates for our bilingual and multilingual learners.
SSD was well represented this year at the National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Showcase. Katie Duggan, our district’s English Language Arts & English Language Development Coordinator and San Miguel Principal Christina Ballantyne, presented “Creating and Growing a Dual Language Program” alongside San Miguel’s Instructional Coaches Geraldine Gomez and Colleen Lynch Espinoza. They shared the exciting and rewarding journey of planning and implementing the district’s Two-Way Spanish-English Dual Immersion Program, Juntos, hosted at San Miguel Elementary School. The Juntos program focuses on building bilingualism and biliteracy, which is key for student success in English and Spanish. However, all classrooms at San Miguel regardless of whether or not the students are in the Dual Immersion program, celebrate bilingualism or multilingualism and see it as an asset in the school and global community. The current Juntos focus is on creating the middle school model of the program. In addition, the team is researching and developing the Pathway Awards, with the final goal of students receiving the Seal of Biliteracy on their high school diploma! Stay tuned!
As Austrian philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein said, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” In our ever-changing global society, this statement has never been truer. It is our job to educate global citizens and become one ourselves. Please consider advocating and partnering with us in this mission and join us at the celebration next April!
Article written by SSD Instructional Coach Colleen Lynch Espinoza