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Transitional Bilingual Program

Transitional Bilingual is a language acquisition program for English learners (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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Transitional Bilingual is a language acquisition program for English learners (EL) students that provides instruction to pupils that utilizes English and a pupil’s native language for literacy and academic instruction and enables an EL student 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 one or more language(s) other than English (LOTE)

Transitional Bilingual-Specific Guidance

  • Transitional bilingual programs are not designed for primary language (home language) or biliteracy proficiency; they are designed to lead students toward full proficiency in English.
  • Students are usually transitioned to full English instruction by the end of grade three (early-exit) or grade five (late-exit).
  • Alignment by local educational agencies (LEAs) of transitional bilingual programs with bilingual or home language preschool programs is of benefit to children.
  • Some programs choose to begin Kindergarten, including Transitional Kindergarten, with a 50 percent LOTE/50 percent English language allocation model.

Sample Language Allocation Models for Transitional Bilingual Programs

Kindergarten One Two Three Four Five Six

90/10

80/20

70/30

50/50

30/70

10/90

English

90/10

70/30

50/50

30/70

English

English

English

50/50

40/60

30/70

20/80

English

English

English

  • When considering a language allocation model, allow sufficient time for designated English language development (ELD) instruction for EL students at all grade levels.

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

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

  • 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
  • Chapter Five (PDF): Content Instruction with Integrated and Designated English Language Development in the Elementary Grades
  • Chapter Six (PDF): Content and Language Instruction in Middle or High School: Promoting Educational Equity and Achievement Through Access and Meaningful Engagement

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: Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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