My name is April Perkins, and I serve as the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)/Bilingual Programs Specialist at the Maine Department of Education.
Raising bilingual/multilingual children in a community where English is the dominant language comes with many challenges. As many immigrant and multilingual families have experienced, children often experience language loss or do not develop skills in the language(s) spoken at home by the families. This can result in difficulty communicating across generations, effects on a child’s sense of identity, and missed opportunities for the personal and professional satisfaction that multilingualism brings.
One of the most powerful tools to combat language loss – and ensure that multilingual students retain and further develop their languages – is to provide bilingual programs at school. Research shows that multilingual learners who participate in bilingual programs experience a wealth of benefits, including superior academic performance as compared to their peers who participate in English-only programs.
I’m very pleased to invite everyone to participate in an exciting new Maine Department of Education initiative to support multilingual education in Maine schools! The Multilingual Education Task Force (METF) is a group of educators and community members seeking to promote bilingual programs here in Maine. We welcome everyone to join the METF to share thoughts and perspectives, learn about bilingual education, and help us create a plan for promoting bilingual programs moving forward.
Co-facilitated by the Multistate Association for Bilingual Education, Northeast, the METF will convene on the following dates from 3-5 p.m. via Zoom.
- May 5, 2022: Examination of opportunities to implement dual language education programs
- May 12, 2022: Identifying the challenges and solutions to implement dual language education programs
- May 23, 2022: Begin a strategic plan to build the foundation to implement dual language education programs
For more information, please contact me at [email protected].