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Developmental (Maintenance) Bilingual Program

Developmental bilingual is a language acquisition program for English learner (EL) students that provides instruction to pupils that utilizes English and a pupil’s native language for literacy and academic instruction.

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Developmental bilingual is a language acquisition program for English learner (EL) students that provides instruction to pupils that utilizes English and a pupil’s native language for literacy and academic instruction. This program enables EL students to achieve English proficiency and academic mastery of subject matter content and higher-order skills, including critical thinking, in order to meet state-adopted academic content standards. Education Code Section 306 (c)(2).

Program Participants:

  • EL students: Speakers of the same language other than English (LOTE)
  • Possibly native English speakers in small numbers

Developmental Bilingual-Specific Guidance

  • Developmental programs typically begin in Kindergarten, including Transitional Kindergarten, and often continue through grade eight, but coursework may continue through grade twelve.
  • Alignment of developmental bilingual programs with bilingual or home language preschool programs by local educational agencies is of benefit to children.
  • Language allocation model options include, but are not limited to:
    • 50 percent LOTE/50 percent English instruction from Kindergarten through grade six.
    • 90 percent LOTE/10 percent English or 80 percent LOTE/20 percent English.
      • Each year after grade one, the English language percentage increases until it reaches 50 percent instruction in each language (typically grades four or five).
    • 80 percent LOTE/10 percent English/10 percent (additional) LOTE (trilingual model).

Sample Language Allocation Models for Developmental Bilingual Programs

Model Kindergarten One Two Three Four Five Six

90/10

90/10

90/10

80/20

70/30

60/40

50/50

50/50

80/20

80/20

80/20

70/30

60/40

50/50

50/50

50/50

50/50

50/50

50/50

50/50

50/50

50/50

50/50

50/50

80/10/10

80/10/10

80/10/10

70/20/10

60/30/10

50/40/10

45/45/10

45/45/10

  • When considering a language allocation model, allow sufficient time for designated English language development (ELD) instruction for EL students at all grade levels.
  • It is important to maintain the planned LOTE minutes of instruction to ensure that students receive instruction in and experience the LOTE for sufficient time to develop proficiency. This instructional time includes physical education, art, assemblies, or other school activities.
  • Developmental bilingual programs at the middle school level typically include from two to three courses in the LOTE.

California Department of Education (CDE) Resources to Support Developmental Bilingual Program Implementation

Improving Education for Multilingual and English Learner Students: Research to Practice (2020)
This publication provides current research and practice to work with EL and multilingual learner students.

  • Chapter One (PDF): The Power and Promise of California’s Multilingual Learners
  • Chapter Two (PDF): Asset-Based Pedagogy: Student, Family, and Community Engagement for the Academic and Social-Emotional Learning of Multilingual Students
  • Chapter Three (PDF): Multilingual Programs and Pedagogy: What Teachers and Administrators Need to Know and Do

English Language Arts (ELA)/ELD Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (2015)
The ELA/ELD Framework provides guidance to local educational agencies and educators on the implementation of the State-Adopted California Content Standards.

World Languages Standards
This CDE web page provides information and resources related to World Languages Standards for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve.

Spanish Language Development (SLD) Standards
The SLD Standards assists teachers to design instruction for students developing linguistic proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish. The SLD Standards do not replace the California Common Core State Standards in Spanish Language Arts, also known as the Common Core en Español.

Common Core en Español External link opens in new window or tab.
This translated, and linguistically augmented version of the Common Core Standards establishes a guide for equitable assessment and curriculum development, resulting in high levels of biliteracy.

Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions
The Biliteracy Pathway Recognitions recognize preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school students who have demonstrated progress toward proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.

Questions:   Language Policy and Leadership Office | 916-319-0845
Last Reviewed: Thursday, February 29, 2024
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