Santa Barbara Unified School District seems to be taking another step towards a multilingual education with the Comprehensive Plan for Multilingual Pathways. Tuesday evening, the district’s board members were presented with updates from SBUSD Director of English Learner and Parent Engagement Programs Maria Larios-Horton.
During a presentation, Ms. Larios-Horton outlined the plan’s mission, which is “our school communities will collaborate to create inclusive multilingual and multicultural learning environments that exemplify our values, in order to successfully prepare all students for a world that is yet to be created.”
The district’s new mission statement is also taken right out of the mission for the plan: “We prepare students for a world that is yet to be created.”
The students in the district will be better prepared for the global economy when equipped with multilingual skills, according to superintendent Cary Matsuoka.
Mr. Matsuoka also added that multilingual students develop greater cultural proficiency.
Several Spanish-speaking parents attended the meeting in support of the program. With a translator by their side, the parents spoke one after another to express how beneficial the multilingual plan will be for their children.
Laura Gomez, a mother whose child attends Dos Pueblos High School, spoke during public comment to voice her support.
“This was not something that was born yesterday or even a few months ago,” she said in Spanish. “This is a result of work that has been done throughout many years by students, by parents by teachers and administrators.”
Ms. Gomez also urged those who are not familiar with the plan towards a multilingual student body to learn more about it.
“It’s not only going to benefit certain students,” said Ms. Gomez. “It’s going to benefit all students.”
Victor Carmona, another parents whose children attend Dos Pueblos High, echoed Ms. Gomez’s words.
“So this is going to give more students the opportunity to take advantage of this initiative,” said Mr. Carmona.
A draft of this plan for multilingual education is to be finalized Feb. 2020, and the board is slated to vote whether or not to approve the plan in March. Further details about the plan can be found in Ms. Larios-Horton’s presentation, which is available on the SBUSD website.
The board meeting started out by honoring local activist Etelvina Menchaca, who passed away earlier this year. About 15 members of Ms. Menchaca’s family attended the honoring.
Toward the end of the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Frann Wageneck presented a resolution for tobacco-free and vaping-free schools. Vaping has been on the rise both in the district and across the nation.
Dr. Wageneck commented that recently, a vape hoodie through which the wearer can vape using the strings has been confiscated.
The resolution states that “the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Trustees and the Santa Barbara Unified School District, in accordance with California Education Code 48901, will take all practical and necessary steps to discourage students from smoking including forbidding the use of tobacco products and vaping devices on campuses and during any school-related activities, and by providing student education and family information on the dangers of tobacco and vaping use.”
The resolution was passed by the board.