In 2015, the campaign successfully advocated for and secured funding in the Washington state operating budget to pilot grant funding for dual-language programs, modeled after legislation in Oregon. Dual language programs immerse students in two languages, with one language introducing concepts and information while the other will generally reinforce them. Our coalition of parents, educators and advocates wrote and designed the bill.

The 2017-19 Dual Language Grant Program (SHB 1445) resulted in five school districts receiving grants to either develop or assist dual language programs. Selah, Mabton and Bethel each receive $50,000 a year for two years. Meanwhile, Wenatchee and Bellevue take on the role of ‘mentor schools’ and receive state funding for their role assisting those districts with their dual language programs.

The purpose of this grant program is to grow capacity for high quality preschool and K-12 dual language programs in Washington, including building native dual language programs in tribal compact schools. The funding amount also increases for dual language programs in a language other than Spanish. Funds can be used for key start-up costs such as professional learning, dual language program design, and bilingual educator recruitment.

These programs boost opportunities for English Language Learners while providing an immersive experience in both languages for all students. Because of these grants, hundreds of students in Washington have already had a radically different, powerful experience in kindergarten and beyond!

Watch the video about Bethel’s dual language program: