Secure District and Community Support


Seek and secure district and community support for the implementation of a successful and sustainable dual language (DL) program. Inform families and community members about the dual language (DL) program so that they can become involved in the DL program and advocate for the program among their peers.


District support for the DL program is critical to its success and security as the program moves forward. There are many types of support to seek and secure at the district level, including funding to cover some of the initial costs to starting the DL program.

Families and community are key in growing and sustaining a DL program. Being able to engage them early on and develop a partnership with them toward supporting and advocating for the program as it grows will be extremely important to its success.

District Support

Superintendent/School Board Support

The first to approach in seeking support for the DL program should be the district superintendent. Having the superintendent’s support will be pivotal in your effort to implement a DL program.

It should be left to the superintendent to lay the path toward informing the governing board regarding the request to implement a DL program. In some districts, a board action to adopt the DL program may be needed.

The board may ask for a study session to learn more about the request to implement a DL program prior to voting on the district’s request.

The district may designate the school site(s) for the DL program and identify the program implementation model (whole school or strand within a school), which will inform the work of the DL Leadership Team.

Human Resources Support

Collaborating with the Human Resources department will be critical to your efforts to recruit teachers for the DL program.

Budgetary Support

Start early and seek funds from the district and other funding sources (e.g., grant opportunities, etc.) to cover start-up costs for the DL program.

Promotional materials for the DL program will need to be printed (e.g., brochure, posters) and work to add these to the district and each DL site’s website.

Purchasing core curriculum (language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, etc.) in the partner language may also be necessary, as well as procuring supplemental instructional materials in the partner language for DL classrooms and school library. Classroom and school library materials in the partner language will also need to be secured (e.g.,

supplemental/research materials corresponding to the content being taught in the partner language at each grade level, authentic literature in the partner language for voluntary/pleasure reading by grade level)

Purchasing DL program assessments, such as language development assessments in English, partner language and academic assessments in English and the partner language will need to be pursued.

Other items that may impact the budget include providing release time (with substitute coverage) for DL teachers to do vertical planning and for DL-specific professional development during school year. Providing stipends for DL teachers may be important to attract teachers in areas with a significant bilingual/biliterate teacher shortage or to recognize the additional work that a DL teacher performs. All of the above items may necessitate a conversation and memorandum of understanding with the teachers’ union.

Many districts hire a DL resource teacher/Teacher on Special Assignment (a teacher who has experience with a DL program and has the credentials to teach in the program) to support district and site administration from DL site(s), teachers and instructional assistants in the DL program, classified staff at the DL site(s), and families of students in the DL program.

Securing consultants to provide an external review of the DL program for the first few years of the program as well as providing program professional development for district and site administration from DL site(s), teachers and instructional assistants in DL program, and classified staff at DL program site(s) may have budgetary implications.

Supporting annual DL conference attendance for district and site administration and teachers and instructional aides in program is another budget item to consider.

Teachers’ Union Support

Various aspects of the DL program may need an informal or formal agreement with the teachers’ union.

It is recommended that teachers that are assigned to the program be placed on a separate seniority list to protect the DL program, as it requires a specialized credential.

If there is a stipend or additional release days that will be offered to teachers in the DL program, that may require an agreement with the union, as well.


Family and Community Engagement

Families and community members are important partners in the education of their children in the DL program. There are many ways to invite them to learn more about the program and become involved both in person and as advocates for the DL program in the community. Several strategies are suggested below for your consideration.

Engaging the community by highlighting and explaining the benefits of a DL program for all students, including English Learners, and emphasizing how important the parents/guardians are will improve the acceptance of DL programs within the community.

Remind the parents/guardians that they are vital to their children’s learning process so that they feel motivated to continue teaching and speaking with and reading to their children in their home language.

Providing access to resources such as bilingual articles, books, digital resources, and materials on the partner language culture in English and the partner language in the library for them to checkout will promote the parents’/guardians’ involvement in their child’s education.

Continuing to include parent/guardian representatives in the DL Leadership Team to provide the connection to the community is so important to the success and sustainability of the DL program.

Holding information meetings and tours for families and community members during the day after the DL program has been in place for several months will allow them to see first-hand the great work that the DL teachers and students are doing teaching and learning in two languages in their classrooms. Be sure to provide resources, activities, and materials after these information meetings and tours to help the children learn the partner language or English outside the classroom.

Encouraging all parents/guardians that their in-classroom support in their child’s DL classroom will actively engage them with their child’s education. Remind them that all parents/guardians can contribute valuable support as language models in English and/or the partner language. A DL program offers greater opportunities for parents/guardians of English Learners to participate, who may not have felt that their language ability in English would be sufficient to participate in an English-only classroom.

Allowing parents/guardians to plan events on behalf of the DL program that they feel will be successful in engaging the community will reinforce their importance and leadership at the school site.

Promoting field trips for students in the DL program to learn about the partner language culture provides opportunities for parents/guardians to attend the field trips as volunteers. This will also help them connect with other parents/guardians of children in the DL program, which will support community engagement.

These are just a few ideas, and we are sure that you and the DL Leadership Team can come up with even more ideas to engage families and communities!