By Adina Thea and Shajaira López, Directors of Language Learning
SHOUT OUT to the elementary and secondary schools who moved mountains to offer language learning opportunities to their students during the 2020-21 school year. Your commitment to language learning means that Highline continues to move forward toward our strategic plan goal for students to graduate bilingual and biliterate.
Even through a pandemic, the class of 2021 included the highest number of graduates yet to receive the Seal of Biliteracy, with 336 students achieving this goal. In comparison, we had 334 students receive the Seal in 2020 and 287 in 2019. We expect this number to continue to rise each year as we expand dual language, world language, and heritage language programs throughout Highline.
This school year, our dual language programs continue to expand. A total of 3,228 students are enrolled in grades K-12. This year is a planning year for Tyee High School, which will begin dual language for students rolling up from Chinook Middle School in 2022-23.
World language programs also continue to expand with a total of 4,540 students enrolled in world or heritage language classes, which include Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, ASL, and heritage Somali, Vietnamese, and Spanish. Middle school programs are expanding with all eighth-grade students taking at least one semester of a language this year to continue their learning from seventh grade.
We will soon launch after-school Somali heritage classes for elementary students, as well as after-school Spanish World Language classes at non-dual language elementary schools. Last year we were able to offer Khmer and Vietnamese after-school heritage classes, and we are hoping to increase the opportunities for heritage language learning this year, as well.
Let's celebrate our progress toward our Highline bilingual and biliterate goal!