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OSPI Receives Grant to Help English Language Learners

OLYMPIA — January 16, 2013 — A grant awarded to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will help improve the career and college readiness of English language learners, the office announced today.

The grant was given by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the World Languages Program at OSPI. Key partners in carrying out the project will be the seven districts involved with the Road Map Project (Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, Seattle, and Tukwila), the Office of the Education Ombudsman, School’s Out Washington, the Center for Applied Second Language Studies at the University of Oregon, and Education Northwest as an evaluator. Money from the grant, totaling $460,000 over two years, will be used for the Road Map World Language Credit Program. The program will focus on offering high school credits to English language learners and students who come from homes in which languages other than English are spoken.

“Too often, we want students from other countries to just assimilate,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent. “But it’s important for them not to forget their heritage and their first language. The grant will help students do both.”

Credits will come from opportunities those students have to develop and/or maintain literacy in their native or heritage languages, as well as in English, and to demonstrate that proficiency through nationally available world language assessments.

The program will address specific needs:

  • To honor and validate students’ first language and the languages of their families
  • To provide opportunities for fluent and literate speakers to receive high school credit for their knowledge of these languages
  • To open up opportunities for students to access core subject credits required for graduation (This is a significant opportunity for ELL students who enter the U.S. high school system mid-year or with limited core subject credits.)
  • To prepare bilingual students for future career opportunities in private industry and to meet government needs for skilled bilingual speakers
  • To motivate students to take advanced courses in their heritage languages at their schools, in college or at ethnic community centers

More than 1,600 students are expected to be served by the grant.

To learn more about the Road Map Project, visit


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.

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Nathan Olson
OSPI Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 4/23/2013

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