BREMERTON — The Bremerton School District was awarded a grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to fund its dual-language program.
Starting in January 2018, the district will begin to receive funds from this $16,000 grant, said Patty Glaser, the district’s public information officer.
“These funds will be used for providing professional development on teaching and coaching through bi-literacy, bilingual certification for para-educators and other classified staff and retooling current bilingual/certificated staff,” Glaser said.
The grant was announced Oct. 30. Bremerton is one of 10 school districts and two Tribal compact schools to receive grant money to support K-12 dual language programs.
“These grants will help students learn practically by applying English and a second language to core subjects,” said Chris Reykdal, state superintendent of public instruction. “I applaud legislators for understanding this need.”
Glaser said the school district recently started a dual-language immersion program in kindergarten, “and we will continue to grow that by adding another grade every year. This will automatically phase out the Spanish immersion program over time.”
She added that the OSPI grant became available “after we planned to start the dual immersion program for the 2017-18 school year. This was a perfect opportunity to find new funding to support the professional development needs of our students.”
Reykdal said all students need to learn two languages.
“In my six-year vision for restructuring K-12 education in Washington state, I call for all students to learn a second language, and to begin that learning in kindergarten, if not earlier,” Reykdal said. “Knowing how to communicate in multiple languages, especially in our increasingly diverse and globally interdependent world, is crucial to student success beyond high school.”
Total funding for the K-12 Dual Language Grant Program is $900,000 for 2017-19. The funding is split between OSPI and the Professional Educator Standards Board for their Bilingual Educator Initiative.
Other grant awardees:
Quileute Tribal School, $19,000, including a $3,000 bonus for a language other than Spanish (Quileute).
Wa He Lut Indian School, $19,000, including a $3,000 bonus for a language other than Spanish (Quilshootseed).
Highline School District, $19,000, including a $3,000 bonus for a language other than Spanish (Vietnamese).
East Valley School District, $16,000.
Franklin Pierce School District, $16,000.
Mount Vernon School District, $16,000.
Bellevue School District, $15,800.
Bethel School District, $15,800.
Mabton School District, $15,800.
Selah School District, $15,800.
Wenatchee School District, $15,800.
For more information about the Bremerton School District’s dual-language program, go to www.bremertonschools.org/Domain/1762.
— Michelle Beahm is online editor for Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.