SF Board of Education supports expanding access to Mandarin and other languages in elementary schools

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SF Board of Education supports expanding access to Mandarin and other languages in elementary schools

Press release

February 10, 2016 (San Francisco) – San Francisco Board of Education commissioners unanimously approved a feasibility study for increasing access and opportunity to world language instruction for elementary students who are not enrolled in immersion programs.

Unlike SFUSD’s immersion programs, where all subjects are taught in the language throughout the school day and English is gradually added as students advance from grade to grade, this pilot will offer language instruction as part of a daily curriculum available to all students. The program will start by offering Mandarin.

Language immersion programs are consistently in high demand at SFUSD.

The resolution was co-authored by Board Commissioners Sandra Lee Fewer and Rachel Norton.

“Introducing a second language at an early age is not only a popular choice among so many of our district parents, it is also supported by research that has demonstrated how learning a second language can benefit children’s overall cognitive development,” said Commissioner Norton.

This continues the San Francisco Board of Education’s tradition of supporting multiculturalism and bilingualism, including the adoption of the resolution "Preparing All Students for a Multilingual/Multicultural World" in 2006, and adoption of the resolution "Institutionalizing Ethnic Studies into SFUSD” in 2014.

“We want our students to graduate with the ability to navigate and engage in the more global, inclusive and connected 21st century society, which includes being multilingual and the ability to connect across race, culture and language,” said Commissioner Fewer.

The resolution called for a pilot Mandarin language program for elementary schools that "feed" into a middle school that offers Mandarin. The pilot will include a wide range of schools, including those that are under-enrolled. Results will be analyzed and will inform whether a full implementation of a district-wide initiative is feasible. If the pilot is found to be feasible, it would be implemented no later than the 2018-2019 school year.

Page updated on 02/10/16

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