thumb_school_bus(1).jpgThe San Francisco Unified School District was awarded a $1.5 million grant on Thursday that will be used to boost programs for the approximately 500 Russian and 500 Japanese heritage learners currently enrolled in San Francisco public schools, according to the District.

Specifically, the Foreign Language Assistance Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education will go toward curriculum development, assessment development, and professional development for teachers of heritage learners. Heritage learners are students who speak a language other than English at home.

The money will be awarded to the District in annual increments of $300,000 over the course of five years.

The District will team up with Stanford University, San Francisco State University, the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Oregon to develop the programs and student learning assessments.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for SFUSD to celebrate the honor and the rich linguistic backgrounds our Russian and Japanese students bring with them from their homes,” said Margaret Peterson, the district’s Program Administrator of World Language/Multilingual Education, in a prepared statement.

The programs are scheduled to officially begin in the 2011-2012 school year.

The district currently has 20 immersion programs, 30 biliteracy programs, 12 newcomer programs, five FLES programs, and 21 secondary World Language programs. The 12 languages in which the San Francisco public school district offers programs include Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese, Filipino, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.

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