For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Laura Dudnick
Office: (415) 241-6565
Cell: (415) 730-0314


New SFUSD Multilingual Learner Plan Shifts Approach to Supporting Diverse Students

San Francisco (October 25, 2023) - The San Francisco Board of Education adopted the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD)’s Roadmap for Multilingual Learner (ML) Achievement and Success on Oct. 10, which replaces the current English Learner plan developed under the Lau Consent Decree and marks a shift from the district’s approach to providing services and supports for multilingual learners.


The new Roadmap for Multilingual Learners (ML) Achievement and Success focuses on the strengths that diverse students bring to the classroom in providing services and support to multilingual learners. One notable change is the terminology used in referring to English language learners with the use of Multilingual Learners instead of English Learners. The term multilingual learner is a more inclusive, asset-based, and holistic term that celebrates students’ home languages and cultures and learning of English as a new language.


“People from all over the world call San Francisco home and our public schools benefit from this diversity. Designing lessons for all students and particularly multilingual learners is directly aligned with our guardail of serving the whole child,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Matt Wayne said. “The plan affirms many of the district’s existing policies and practices that will continue, including translation and interpretation, types of language programs, services for multilingual learners in special education, and celebrating multilingualism by awarding the Seal of Biliteracy to graduating seniors.”


The new plan provides a framework for instruction that includes integrated English Language Development (ELD) practices happening throughout the school day in all content areas and subject matters, as well as a designated time for focused language study referred to as designated English Language Development. In addition, the new plan names assets-based instructional practices that build on and affirm the linguistic repertoire multilingual learners use to make meaning, learn new content, and communicate. 


The Roadmap for Multilingual Learner (ML) Achievement and Success makes connections to the School Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) and the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) with the goal to align and articulate ML services at the school site level and the district level.  


Developing the plan involved a multi-year process that engaged students, educators, and education partners, including the District English learner Advisory Committee and student fellows. An English learner plan approved by the school board is a requirement for every school district in California.


The U.S. Supreme Court approved the Lau v. Nichols Consent Decree in 1974, requiring the District to ensure that all English Learners had access to the core curriculum by providing appropriate instructional services. The lawsuit was initiated in the 1970s by Chinese parents because the District did not provide services for English Learners. The Lau Consent Decree was unique to SFUSD and after 45 years, ended on June 30, 2019. This monumental court case is now the basis for state and federal guidelines that outline English learner services.



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