LAKEWOOD – The sounds of laughter and applause mixed with excited chatter in English and Spanish on Monday, June 6, as 48 kindergarteners at Bellflower Unified’s Intensive Learning Center collected ribbons marking their progress toward biliteracy.
The first-ever Pathway to Biliteracy Awards recognized students from two dual-language immersion classes for being able to count, respond to literature and perform other academic tasks in English and Spanish.
In addition to the kindergarteners, about 100 family members and school leaders attended the evening event. Children were called one by one to receive ribbons; their families received certificates and were invited to take photos with their children and school representatives.
“These awards are a wonderful recognition as our students begin to attain vital skills for their education and future careers,” Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said. “Biliterate students not only excel in school, but they provide a critical resource in our increasingly global marketplace.”
Bellflower Unified launched its dual-immersion program with kindergarteners at the Intensive Learning Center in 2013-14. The program added first grade in 2014-15, second grade in 2015-16 and will add third grade in 2016-17. A preschool class is being launched this fall.
The Pathway to Biliteracy Awards will be expanded as the program grows. Starting next year, awards will go to students who demonstrate grade-appropriate skills at the end of preschool, kindergarten, first grade and third grade. When the program grows through middle school, awards will be added at the end of sixth and eighth grade, too.
High school students who demonstrate proficiency in two or more languages can earn a state Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas. The seal, launched by California in 2012 and now available in 13 states, will go to 76 Bellflower Unified graduating seniors this year.
In addition to its dual-immersion program, Bellflower Unified offers world language programs in middle school and high school in Spanish, French and Mandarin.
PATHWAY 1: Two kindergarteners from Bellflower Unified’s Intensive Learning Center’s dual-language immersion program stand by a row of ribbons recognizing them and their classmates for their progress toward biliteracy in English and Spanish during a June 6 ceremony at the school.
PATHWAY 2: Kindergarteners from one of two dual-language immersion classes at Bellflower Unified’s Intensive Learning Center pose with teacher Rachel Rockway after receiving ribbons on June 6 recognizing their progress toward biliteracy in English and Spanish.
PATHWAY 3: Kindergarteners from one of two dual-language immersion classes at Bellflower Unified’s Intensive Learning Center pose with teacher Mayra Garza after receiving ribbons on June 6 recognizing their progress toward biliteracy in English and Spanish.
PATHWAY 4: An Intensive Learning Center kindergartener shows off his ribbon recognizing skill in English and Spanish during a June 6 awards ceremony honoring students in Bellflower Unified’s dual-language immersion program.
PATHWAY 5: Proud family members pose with a school official and their daughter after she received a Pathway to Biliteracy Award at Bellflower Unified’s Intensive Learning Center on June 6. The awards were given to kindergarteners who demonstrated grade-appropriate skills in English and Spanish.