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MUSD’s Dual-Language Immersion Program Thrives on 16th Anniversary

Staff Report

Montebello Unified’s thriving dual-language immersion program (DLIP) has blossomed, serving nearly 600 students at four schools. To commemorate DLIP’s 16th anniversary, the District gathered at Montebello Intermediate School auditorium on April 27 to hear the history of the program and celebrate its successes.
What began 16 years ago as a pilot project in a single Montebello Unified kindergarten classroom with 20 students has blossomed into a thriving dual-language immersion program (DLIP) at four MUSD schools. The program at La Merced Elementary, Winter Gardens Elementary, La Merced Intermediate and Montebello Intermediate schools serves nearly 600 students.

To commemorate DLIP’s 16th anniversary, District Board members, administrators, teachers, historians, parents and students filled the Montebello Intermediate School auditorium on April 27 to hear the history of the program, celebrate its successes and to watch student performances.

Despite the expiration of a Title VII federal grant during the economic recession, the Board of Education and District officials continued to invest in the growth of DLIP. They expanded the program to a second elementary school and then added two intermediate schools. The District also launched a “Spanish Institute” aimed at enhancing Spanish academic proficiency for teachers.

“This year each of the DLIP elementary schools added an additional kindergarten setting illustrating the proactive, organic movement taking place in our Montebello community,” Program Specialist Dr. Silvia Lezama said.

Today, DLIP offers a growing number of students the opportunity to achieve high levels of proficiency in English and Spanish from highly qualified teachers. Students are eligible to earn the State Seal of Biliteracy.

“Montebello Unified is proud to support DLIP teachers and staff in their efforts to promote bilingualism, biliteracy and multicultural competence in our students,” Superintendent Susanna Contreras Smith said. “Congratulations on 16 years of success, and here’s to strengthening the future of our students at Montebello Unified.”