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Superintendent Letter to the Latino Caucus

California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
August 7, 2017

The Honorable Ben Hueso
Chair, California Latino Legislative Caucus
1020 N Street, Room 511
Sacramento, CA 95814

The Honorable Lorena S. Gonzalez Fletcher
Vice Chair, California Latino Legislative Caucus
State Capitol, Room 2114
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Senator Hueso and Assembly Member Gonzalez Fletcher:

I am excited to inform you of the latest news related to English learners (ELs) at the California Department of Education (CDE). On July 21, 2017, the State Board of Education approved a revolutionary "English Learner Roadmap" to help California's local school districts and charter schools welcome, understand, and educate the diverse population of students who are learning English. The Roadmap is the first new language policy adopted in nearly 20 years. It removes outdated barriers to bilingual and multilingual instruction and reflects current research and evidence-based practices to help local educational agencies (LEAs) meet new state and federal education laws and requirements.

The EL Roadmap consists of four principles that are intended to guide LEAs toward a coherent and aligned set of practices, services, and approaches to teaching and learning that together create an effective 21st century education for our ELs. The principles are as follows:

  • Assets-Oriented and Needs-Responsive Schools
  • Intellectual Quality of Instruction and Meaningful Access
  • System Conditions that Support Effectiveness
  • Alignment and Articulation within and across Systems

The EL Roadmap Guidance document is scheduled to be completed in December 2017 for use by LEAs and those interested in improving education for the 1.3 million ELs in the state. The guidance document will be available online and contain best practices to help teachers and school leaders improve English proficiency and achievement for ELs. My thanks and gratitude to the Sobrato Family Foundation for funding this historical project. I will share the completed EL Roadmap Guidance document with you upon its completion.

In addition to the great work on the EL Roadmap, the CDE is working on the distribution of the $5 million in one-time grants for the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development (BTPD) Program provided by the state Legislature and the Governor in the 2017-18 state budget. The BTPD Program is a fantastic opportunity to support bilingual teachers in California. My thanks go out to you and the entire California Latino Legislative Caucus for your support for funding for this necessary work. Additionally, the CDE is seeking private funding to develop professional development modules to support the BTPD grant recipients.

I look forward to sharing the EL Roadmap Guidance and the BTPD training modules with you. Together, we are creating a world of difference for English learners in California.


/signed by Tom Torlakson/

Tom Torlakson


cc: Members, California Latino Legislative Caucus

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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