SACRAMENTO, Calif — As students prepare to go back to school this fall, the California Department of Education wants to improve language equity in classrooms.
According to the latest data from the California Department of Education, California serves more than six million students in Kindergarten through 12th grade in public schools. Out of those students, 1.1 million are English learners and 2.6 million have a language other than English in their background.
The California Department of Education has recognized that many students bring to school a vital cultural heritage, values, and the ability to communicate in their home language. In a move to address language barriers in education, a new Multilingual Learning Toolkit is available as an additional resource for teachers who serve Pre-K through 3rd graders.
It's a free online portal featuring a vetted selection of resources and best practices, specifically for educators, administrators, and faculty members whose work supports young Multilingual Learners. The Toolkit is the result of a collaborative effort that includes researchers, practitioners, advocacy organizations, state agencies, and philanthropic organizations from California and across the nation.
Early Edge California is a nonprofit advocacy organization on a mission to improve access to high-quality early learning experiences for all children. On Thursday, the organization partnered with the California Governor's Office, California Department of Education, and other education leaders to officially launch the brand new website for educators.
"California is a very diverse state," said Patricia Lozano, Executive Director of Early Edge California. "Our goal with the Multilingual Learning Toolkit is to provide the best resources and tools so teachers can do their very best work and be effective in supporting Multilingual Learners. Our ultimate vision is that every child in California gets the opportunity to be a Multilingual Learner."
The Toolkit comes with a Starter Guide that shares foundational principles for practitioners to best support Multilingual Learners. It also contains 11 Instructional Strategies, described as the essential elements of what educators and administrators need to best serve students from diverse backgrounds.
The Instructional Strategies are structured into key questions that an educator may have and include evidence-based strategies and resources. The website also gives educators access to an array of videos, handouts, vignettes, and other resources from partner organizations.
"There are other Multilingual resources out there," Lozano said. "But, teachers are busy. They do not have time to check if each website works or what's the best website. So, Early Edge California went through the researching process for educators to make it easy for them to have a one-stop-shop."
If you're an educator, you might want to consider exploring the new site first by visiting the How to Use this Site section. There, you'll be able to find all the tips you need to dive into learning.
To find out more about the Multilingual Learning Toolkit or how you can support Multilingual Learners statewide, visit the Toolkit website
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