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Language Acquisition Programs

Redwood City School District’s (RCSD) mission is to educate every child for success. For students identified as English learners (EL), this includes developing proficiency in English, which will lead to strong achievement in every subject area.

An English learner is a student who is developing English proficiency in speaking, listening, comprehension, reading, and writing as measured by the English Language Proficiency Assessment of California (ELPAC) and other academic measures.

RCSD offers students who are acquiring English a consistent and comprehensive language development program through various language program models. The central purpose of the district’s programs for English learners is to ensure that they achieve academic parity with their English-only counterparts and become fluent in English through the implementation of an integrated academic content and language program. The district’s philosophy for bilingual/alternative education is the development of academic skills and grade level knowledge in the student’s primary language at the same time as they learn English. Using a child’s first language helps to develop the student cognitively and academically as well as develop his/her self-esteem.

A large number of parents of English learner students request an alternative language program for their children. These programs are:


The goal of the program is for students to reach grade level content standards as well as to reach the level of English proficiency to be reclassified as fluent English proficient as per the ELPAC and district requirements. An appropriately certified teacher with a focus on English language development (ELD) and Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) will teach in the English Language Mainstream program. Students may receive primary language support to facilitate English acquisition and academic progress. At any time during the year a parent or guardian may request a placement in the English Language Mainstream (ELM) program regardless of whether their student meets the criteria for the ELM placement.

The goal of the program is for students to increase their proficiency in the four language domains and to access the core curriculum through scaffolding and differentiated instruction. Nearly all classroom instruction is in English but the curriculum and its implementation is designed for students who are learning the language. Primary language support may be provided.



  • Two-way Immersion is a program model where either native English speakers and native Spanish speakers or native English speakers and native Mandarin speakers are learning together both target language and English. Much of the instruction, textbooks, and teaching materials are in the students’ target language of instruction.

The goals of the program are:
1. to attain high levels of fluency in communication, reading, and writing in two languages, 
2. to meet grade level state content standards as per district and state requirements, and to develop positive self-esteem through an understanding and appreciation of other cultures


BILINGUAL PROGRAM MODELS: Developmental Bilingual

  • Developmental Bilingual is a program model where native Spanish speakers are acquiring proficiency in their primary language and learning English as a second language. Much of the curriculum and materials are in the primary language. English is increasingly used for instruction as students move up the grades, but one or two subjects remain in the primary language so that literacy in both languages can be maintained. 

The goals of the program are:
1. To attain high levels of biliteracy in Spanish and English
2. To meet grade level state content standards as per district and state requirements
3. To develop positive self-esteem through the validation of the primary language

  • Redwood City School District’s Bilingual and Dual Language programs are consistent with research findings which demonstrate that such parity and academic proficiency in English is best promoted by providing access to the core curriculum through the home language of the students, supplemented by rigorous, content-based English language development instruction and specially designed academic instruction in English. In English language classrooms the primary medium of instruction is English and the home language may be used to clarify and check for comprehension and to support the instructional process as needed.

    Redwood City School District follows state required academic standards for all students in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and English Language Development, to ensure all students are college and career ready. In order to monitor student performance, the district has a systematic assessment program aligned with the curriculum standards and the Redwood City School District board has defined quantifiable goals for student progress toward the standards. Progress toward the goals and objectives are evaluated yearly for their effectiveness in improving student learning and student achievement.