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Multilingual Education

The resources on this web page offer information on the development, implementation, and location of multilingual programs.

Overview of Multilingual Programs

Multilingual programs prepare students for linguistic and academic proficiency in English and additional languages, and require thoughtful design. Multilingual programs are based on research that demonstrates the program model’s effectiveness at leading students toward linguistic fluency and academic achievement in more than one language.

The California Department of Education (CDE) mission is to equip students with world language skills to better appreciate and more fully engage with the diverse mixture of cultures, heritages, and languages found in California and the world, while also preparing them to succeed in the global economy. The CDE has set specific goals in the Global California 2030 Initiative. By 2030, half of all kindergarten through grade twelve students will participate in programs leading to proficiency in two or more languages, either through a class, a program, or an experience. By 2040, three out of four students will be proficient in one or more languages, earning them a State Seal of Biliteracy.

La Educación Multilingüe (Español)

Multilingual Program Descriptions

Multilingual programs may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Dual-Language Immersion (Two-Way Immersion) is language learning and academic instruction for native speakers of English and native speakers of another language. The goals of dual-language immersion programs are language proficiency and academic achievement in students’ first and second languages, and cross-cultural understanding. This program is typically found in kindergarten through grade eight, but may be offered through grade twelve.

Transitional Bilingual provides instruction for English learners utilizing English and students’ native language for literacy and academic instruction, with the goals of language proficiency and academic achievement in English. Students typically transition to “English only” instruction by third grade. This program is typically found in kindergarten through grade three, but may be offered at higher grade levels.   

Developmental Bilingual provides instruction for English learners utilizing English and students’ native language for literacy and academic instruction, with the goals of language proficiency and academic achievement in students’ first and second languages. This program is typically found in kindergarten through grade eight.

One-Way Immersion provides instruction in English and another language for non-speakers of the other language, with the goals of language proficiency and academic achievement in English and the other language, and cross-cultural understanding. This program is typically found in kindergarten through grade eight.

Heritage Language or Indigenous Language provides instruction in English and another language for non-English speakers or students with limited literacy skills in their first language. Indigenous language programs support endangered minority languages in which students may have limited receptive and no productive skills. Both programs often serve American Indian students. This program is typically found in kindergarten through grade twelve.

FLEX: Foreign Language Elementary Experience provides instruction for non-native speakers of the target language, with the goals of exposure, enrichment, and language experience. Typically during a designated period of the school day or after-school program (usually a few times a week) providing basic exposure to a language. This program is typically found in kindergarten through grade eight.

FLES: Foreign Language in Elementary Schools provides instruction for non-native speakers of the target language during a designated period of the school day or after-school program dedicated to language study. This program is typically found in kindergarten through grade eight.

Native Speakers Courses are courses of language study designed for native speakers of the target language, typically offered in grades seven through twelve.

Multilingual Program Implementation Resources

CDE Resources:

Parent’s Toolkit to Multilingual Education
This toolkit includes PowerPoint presentations and printable parent guides in English and Spanish for parents about the benefits of multilingual education, multilingual programs, and how to become involved in their children’s education.

California Best Practices for Young Dual-Language Learners (PDF)
This CDE web page provides an overview of the research relating to dual-language learner instruction and support. 

California Education for a Global Economy (CA Ed.G.E.) Initiative (Proposition 58)
This CDE web page provides detailed information on the implementation of California Education Code sections 300, 305, 306, 310, 320, and 335, and related regulations. 

Common Core en Español External link opens in new window or tab.
This website provides the Spanish translation of the State Board of Education (SBE)-Adopted English Language Arts Common Core Standards for use in Spanish language instructional settings.

SBE-Adopted English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Framework
The CDE developed the 2014 ELA/ELD Framework to support and incorporate the California Common Core State Standards for ELA and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects and the California ELD Standards (CA ELD Standards).

SBE-Adopted ELD Standards
The California ELD Standards amplify the California State Standards for ELA and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.

Preschool English Learners: Principles and Practices to Promote Language, Literacy, and Learning (PDF)
This CDE resource guide supports the education of dual-language learners.  

Spanish Language Development Standards External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
Use the Spanish translation of the ELD Standards in Spanish language instructional settings.

State Seal of Biliteracy
This program recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing one or more languages in addition to English.

Effects of the Implementation of Proposition 227 on the Education of English Learners Kindergarten through grade twelve External link opens in new window or tab.
The CDE conducted a five-year evaluation of the effects of Proposition 227 on the education of English learners. Student achievement analyses, phone interviews, case study site visits, and written surveys were used to examine such questions as how the proposition was implemented, which English learner services are most and least effective, and what unintended consequences resulted from Proposition 227 implementation. This final report was submitted to the CDE. Language Policy and Leadership Office on January 2006.

The report is available on the following websites: American Institutes for Research External link opens in new window or tab. and WestEd External link opens in new window or tab..

Recent External Publications:

Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth Learning English: Promising Futures External link opens in new window or tab.
The 2017 National Academies of Sciences report on English learners identifies effective practices for educators and recommends steps to support high-quality educational outcomes for students.

Guiding Principles for Dual Language Education, Third Edition External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
The Center for Applied Linguistics 2017 resource provides information to local educational agencies to develop and sustain dual-language instructional programs.

When More Means Less: Mapping the Gaps between Expert and Public Understandings of Dual Language Learners External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)
This 2017 Frameworks Institute report provides recommendations for reframing dual-language learning.

External Organizations:

Association of Two-Way & Dual Language Education (ATDLE) External link opens in new window or tab.
ATDLE is a national organization which supports the development and continued implementation of Two-Way and Dual-Language programs throughout the United States.

California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) External link opens in new window or tab.
The CABE website provides information and resources on the development and implementation of Dual-Language Immersion programs, including research and step-by-step guides for local educational agencies. 

Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) External link opens in new window or tab.
The CARLA website provides free online research-based professional development resources and instructional materials. See Immersion Education and Research for research on immersion programs, a national directory of immersion programs, and classroom-based research briefs to inform educators’ daily practice.

Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) External link opens in new window or tab.
CAL provides research-based language and cultural education resources, including a national directory of Two-Way and Dual-Language Immersion programs. Visit the Two-way Immersion website External link opens in new window or tab. for information and downloadable resources from the Two-Way Immersion Outreach Project.

Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE) External link opens in new window or tab.
CREDE provides research and tools for the implementation of practices for culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Dual Language Education of New Mexico External link opens in new window or tab.
This website includes professional and informational resources to develop, refine, and/or implement dual-language education programs.

Language Resource Centers External link opens in new window or tab.
The Language Resource Centers are a national network of sixteen language resource centers to support the teaching and learning of non-English languages.

Multicultural Pavilion External link opens in new window or tab.
The Multicultural Pavilion is an EdChange and Equity Literacy Institute project that provides resources and discussion lists related to multicultural teaching and learning.

National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) External link opens in new window or tab.
NCELA supports the mission of the U.S. Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) in meeting the needs of English learners and providing state data profiles, a resource library, and the NCELA Nexus Newsletter.

U.S. Department of Education OELA External link opens in new window or tab.
OELA provides data, resources, and technical assistance for English learner instruction, including the English Learner Tool Kit and Newcomer Tool Kit. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Multilingual Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Parent Resources

CDE Resources:

Parent’s Toolkit to Multilingual Education
This toolkit includes PowerPoint presentations and printable parent guides in English and Spanish for parents about the benefits of multilingual education, multilingual programs, and how to become involved in their children’s education.

California Education for a Global Economy (CA Ed.G.E.) Initiative (Proposition 58)
This CDE web page provides detailed information on the implementation of California Education Code sections 300, 305, 306, 310, 320, and 335, and related regulations.

External Organizations:

Association of Two-Way & Dual Language Education (ATDLE) External link opens in new window or tab.
ATDLE is a national organization which supports the development and continued implementation of Two-Way and Dual-Language programs throughout the United States.

California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) External link opens in new window or tab.
The CABE website provides information and resources on the development and implementation of Dual-Language Immersion programs, including research and step-by-step guides for local educational agencies.

Colorín Colorado (English) External link opens in new window or tab.
Colorín Colorado is a bilingual website that provides information for educators and families.

KVIE Inside California Education Dual-Language Immersion Episode External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 26:46)
This news report showcases an English and Mandarin Chinese dual-language immersion program in Redding. It provides information on how the passage of the CA Ed.G.E. Initiative can increase opportunities for students to learn multiple languages.

The Benefits of Being Bilingual External link opens in new window or tab.
The Center for Applied Linguistics provides articles and information on the advantages of bilingualism.

U.S. Department of Education External link opens in new window or tab.
The US. Department of Education provides publications for parents on a wide range of topics.

Multilingual Program Directory

CDE Resources:

CDE California School Directory
To search for schools with multilingual programs within the California Schools Directory, select the "Advanced Search" option and choose the "Multilingual Schools" option.

CDE California Schools Mobile Application
Download the California Schools Mobile Application to search for schools with multilingual programs. When searching for schools with multilingual programs, choose the "Offers Multi-Language Program" option. Each school that qualifies will appear as a pin on the map. Click on the pin and further details will appear.

How to Use the Search Feature on the California Schools Application External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 2:52)
View this video to learn how to use the multilingual program search feature in the California Schools Mobile Application.

Como Utilizar la Función de Búsqueda en la Aplicación California Schools App (Español) External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 3:37)
Vea este video para aprender cómo usar la función de búsqueda para los programas multilingües en la aplicación móvil de escuelas en California.

List of Schools Offering Multilingual Programs (XLSX)
This list provides information about schools that offer multilingual programs, including the types of multilingual programs available at the school.

Questions:   Language Policy and Leadership Office | 916-319-0845
Last Reviewed: Monday, September 30, 2019