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SF Board of Education approves creation of World Languages Council

Press Release

San Francisco (October 24, 2018) - The San Francisco Board of Education unanimously approved the creation of a World Languages Council on Tuesday night. The resolution, “In Support of World Languages,” was co-authored by Commissioners Emily Murase and Mark Sanchez, and Student Delegates Clarisse Aruino and Jiayu Galahad Mai.

The purpose of the Council is to serve in an advisory capacity to San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) staff on world languages curriculum, articulation, placement and other programmatic issues. This Council will build upon the resources and energy that SFUSD has devoted to meet the needs of English Language Learners (ELL), and existing systems to develop language programs that includes representatives from ELL schools, families and communities.

“Fostering students to be globally aware, multilingual, and culturally competent is an essential part of our Graduate Profile as we prepare students with the skills they need to succeed in the future,” Board of Education Commissioner Emily Murase said.

SFUSD currently offers over 70 language programs covering at least 10 languages, including Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Italian, French, Arabic, Vietnamese and Hebrew. World language programs are one option for students to learn multiple languages.

In 2006, the San Francisco Board of Education formalized its commitment to multilingualism with the resolution, “Preparing All Students for a Multilingual/Multicultural World,” which called for utilizing the linguistic and cultural diversity in San Francisco to provide the opportunity for every student in pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade to become multilingual and multicultural, and to graduate fluent in English and at least one other language.

SFUSD’s graduating class of 2018 had nearly 750 graduates (20% percent of all graduates) who were awarded a Seal of Biliteracy on their diploma. Seals are earned if students demonstrate proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English. Languages represented by SFUSD seal recipients included Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Latin.

As part of the California Campaign for Biliteracy, San Francisco became one of the first school districts in the state to receive the “Multiple Pathways to Biliteracy District” recognition award, which celebrates districts that are leading the way to world-class language education with the 21st century communication skills of multiple languages.

“Multilingualism and multiculturalism are assets we are proud to develop and nurture in our students. We aim to provide the opportunity for every student to become multilingual and multicultural,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said.

The Council will be composed of stakeholders including SFUSD staff members, school site administrators, teachers, paraeducators, parents of current and alumni students, and students. It will meet at least twice per year, once during the fall semester and once during the spring semester. SFUSD’s Multilingual Pathways Department will recommend representatives for approval by the Board of Education for 2-year terms.

The Council will report on its findings and recommendations to the full Board of Education annually.

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Page updated on 10/24/18