Two New Dual Immersion Programs in Newport Mesa Unified School District

Newport Mesa Unified School District will offer two new dual immersion programs for the incoming 2015-16 school year.  College Park Elementary School will offer Mandarin and Whittier Elementary School will offer Spanish.  Both schools are located in Costa Mesa.  Enrollment for these two schools are only open to students residing within their school district zone.  Applications are still open until April 15.

Newport Mesa will also launch six new programs for their high school students called their Signature Academies and five of these programs will be open for incoming ninth grade students next year;  the sixth one will start in 2016/17.  All of these new programs will focus on global competitiveness.  Corona Del Mar High School will specifically offer the Academy of Global Studies and Newport Harbor High School will offer the International Baccalaureate Academy.  Applications for all of their Signature Academies are also open until April 2015.

Here is an excerpt of their mission statement for their Signature Academies:

All NMUSD Signature Academies aspire to take students beyond the basics to elevate their academic vision. All academies have a global competitiveness theme. Students choosing to enroll in the Signature Academies receive unique curriculum options and supplemental activities that complement the highly successful core academic programs at our four high schools. Each academy in our high school zones approaches global competitiveness from a unique angle.

This is exciting news for this Orange County school district and as stated on their website, these students will definitely make their mark on the world!

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BTSA (Bilingual Teacher Student Association) at UCI



Bilingual Teacher is expanding its reach to our next generation of bilingual teachers.  Bilingual Teacher Student Association (BTSA) will be launched this spring on the UCI campus for any bilingual undergraduate and graduate students interested in becoming a bilingual teacher.

Our first BTSA meeting will be held on April 13, Monday, at 6pm in the School of Education building, room #2024.  Spread the word bilingual Anteaters!

Join us at Wayzgoose in April too!

Please complete this Google form if you are interested in becoming a member:         Bilingual Teacher Student Association


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First Vietnamese Dual Immersion Program in California

Westminster School District will be the very first California school district to offer a dual immersion program in Vietnamese next fall!  Garden Grove Unified School District will most likely follow with their own dual immersion program in Vietnamese too.

It is wonderful to see so many new dual immersion programs expanding in our local school districts across the county and the state.

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Possible Spanish Immersion Program in Irvine, CA

A  large group of parents from Irvine would like to see the Irvine Unified School District offer a Spanish immersion program next year at the elementary school level.  A website, My Bilingual Child Irvine, was created to help make this happen. The group has already gathered more than 100 signatures from parents and other supporters.  They will be speaking to the Irvine Board of Education on November 18, 2014 at 6:30pm in the district administration center at 5050 Barranca Parkway, Irvine.  Anyone can attend the meeting to show support and to to speak during the public comments section.  For more information or to speak at the meeting, please email

Please support this group by signing their petition.

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Welcome New Bilingual Teacher Candidates


Multiple Subject Bilingual Candidates (standing) and Bilingual Alumni (seated) at UCI’s Annual Bilingual Luncheon

A new cohort of bilingual candidates has joined the UCI Multiple Subject Teacher Credential Program this year.  Many classes have already started for them, but the official start date for the academic year is October 2.  During the annual bilingual luncheon, held immediately after their orientation last month, candidates had the opportunity to meet bilingual alumni who are currently teaching at various local dual immersion schools.

Last year, 100% of our students were hired at various public schools, the majority teaching in dual immersion programs. Our bilingual community is growing stronger with every bilingual teacher that exits our program.  A strong network of bilingual alumni is represented in many of our local dual immersion schools including:  Gates, Las Palmas, ViejoBergeson, El Sol and Orange County Educational Arts Academy.  Other bilingual alumni are hired in Riverside and Los Angeles.  Los Angeles Unified and Riverside Unified School Districts are expanding their dual immersion programs.

Bilingual teachers are in high demand and for the past several years, most of our bilingual candidates have not had a problem finding a teaching position in a dual immersion or in regular schools.  If the trend continues, there will definitely not be a shortage of jobs for these bilingual candidates next year.

As with every year, it was amazing to meet such passionate individuals fluent in Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean or Mandarin.  Biliteracy in the various languages is something they have successfully achieved.  Future second language learners enrolled in dual immersion or regular classrooms will greatly benefit from their rich linguistic and multicultural experiences.

For more information regarding where our UCI bilingual candidates are hired, please see:  Spotlight on Bilingual Teachers 

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First Few Weeks of School

Susy Magaña ('07) at La Ballona Elementary School with Colleagues

Dual Immersion Teacher, Susy Magaña (’07; by lion), at La Ballona Elementary School in Her Kindergarten Classroom with Colleagues After Back To School Night

When I think of the first few weeks of school and all that needs to be accomplished as an elementary school teacher, I think of only one word that describes the feeling that many veteran and newly minted teachers usually have, exhaustion.  By the time they meet their new students on that first day, it is a feeling that overwhelms all others.

I have volunteered in my child’s second grade classroom since the second week of school and am in awe of his teacher and all that she has accomplished during these early weeks of school.  Her bulletin boards are colorful, material is well organized, name tags are securely affixed on their desks, routines are automatic and effective classroom management techniques are consistently used before, during and after any lesson.  As many veteran teachers know, classroom management is the key to any successful learning in the future and those early days are critical in establishing clear expectations and rules of conduct.

CardstockAs I sat cutting little bits of cardstock one day, I also realized that many new teachers do not capitalize on the help they could be receiving from their school community, parents in particular.  As back-to-school night nears, parents should be recognized as integral members of the classroom.  Parents are usually eager to volunteer during those early months and beyond if the teacher establishes strong rapport with them.  Parent volunteers can tremendously lessen the clerical workload for teachers.

Planning for what parent volunteers will do in a classroom is essential.  Work should be ready a day or two beforehand so their time is maximized.  Some parents will be content making journals and stapling papers at home.  Others, who are not intimidated by the school environment, can make copies in the office or even read aloud to students while a teacher completes one on one testing.

The opportunities are limitless and the key is to find out what parents like to do and how much time they can give.  A back-to-school night survey asking them about their interests and volunteer times can be very helpful.  Posting an open calendar with specific times needed in front of the classroom or via an email/letter is also an excellent idea. Having a designated area (e.g., tray labeled volunteer work in the back of the room) for specific tasks that need to be completed could also lessen the interruptions a teacher may have of a volunteer that doesn’t know what to do when they arrive.  Each task should include specific, easy to follow directions.  The cardstock activity took a very long time to complete and my thumb was a little sore, but I was happy to have at least helped out in preparing these manipulatives for a math activity students were going to complete within the next several days.  At least for that day, the teacher could focus on more important things to do after school and her “to do” list would have one less thing on it.

I hope all of our teachers, parents and students have a great academic year.  I am thankful for being able to volunteer in my son’s second grade class.  As parent volunteers, we get to quietly observe how our own child behaves and interacts with others in the classroom as we cut, staple and organize material in the back of the room.  We are also privileged in observing the lessons that are taught that day and have a better understanding of the homework that is assigned.

For teachers, hope for volunteers, plan for volunteers and be thankful for parent volunteers.  They are eager to help and are a valuable resource.

Thanks Sra. Martinez (UCI bilingual master teacher) for allowing me to volunteer in your classroom and here’s to a wonderful year working with you!

Here are some other resources for those first few weeks of school:

Bright Ideas for Back-to-School Night…and Beyond

40+ New Teacher Resources


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Bilingual Student Teachers at CABE 2014

Our bilingual (Spanish) multiple subject candidates were able to volunteer and attend the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) Conference this year in Anaheim. They attended workshops, visited the many vendors, and talked to the various school district representatives about possible employment.  They also networked with other UCI bilingual alumni attending the conference.

Two of our bilingual candidates also had the honor of attending the awards luncheon this year.  CABE awards teacherships yearly to support students pursuing a bilingual teaching credential.  Only four teacherships were presented at this year’s awards luncheon. Marco Castillo received the Charles (Chuck) Acosta Teachership Award (see p. 178) and Megan Gibbs received the Alma Flor Ada Teachership Award (see p. 180).  In addition to the $2,000 scholarship, Miss Gibbs and Mr. Castillo were able to attend the 4-day conference free of charge as honored guests.

Unbeknownst to him or his home school district, Mr. Castillo also had the distinguished honor of having his own elementary school from Palmdale attend the awards luncheon.   The superintendant, principal and some of his own childhood bilingual elementary school teachers from the district were present to congratulate him after he received his award. As a child, he attended the Palmdale School District’s designated bilingual school.  Some of the bilingual Palmdale teachers in attendance were busily texting back to their school letting them know that one of their own students was receiving an award.  That bilingual student from Palmdale will soon be a bilingual teacher like one of them.

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New Bilingual Cohort

Master Teachers, Alumni and Bilingual StudentsUCI’s Multiple Subject Teacher Credential Program has a larger group of bilingual students this year.  Various languages were represented at the annual orientation meeting before the start of fall quarter.  The majority of our bilingual candidates are Spanish speakers, but other bilingual candidates spoke Korean, Mandarin or Vietnamese.  All of the students in attendance were interested in pursuing their Bilingual Authorization.

Eight bilingual (Spanish) candidates have been placed at Viejo Elementary School in Mission Viejo.  Viejo Elementary has four UCI bilingual alumni working in their two-way language immersion (Spanish) program.  One of our UCI bilingual alumni is now a UCI master teacher this year.  In addition, one bilingual (Mandarin) candidate has been placed at Bergeson Elementary School’s Mandarin immersion program in Laguna Niguel.  This will be the second bilingual candidate placed at Bergeson Elementary.  The school’s first bilingual (Mandarin) candidate graduated last year and is working as a bilingual teacher at College Park Elementary School’s Mandarin Immersion Talent and Gifted Program.  Both schools, Viejo and Bergeson, will have bilingual teacher positions available next year.

Bilingual candidates were able to meet their master teachers and other bilingual alumni at the orientation meeting.  Bilingual alumni shared many of their personal experiences interviewing for a teaching position, teaching in a dual immersion school and secrets of how to secure a position after graduation.  Master teachers had the opportunity to meet their new student teachers and discuss their expectations and grade level routines in their classroom before the start of their new school year.

It will be a great year for this new bilingual cohort.  They are now members of a very strong bilingual community which includes experienced bilingual master teachers and mentors, bilingual leaders, and a fast growing group of bilingual alumni working at various dual immersion schools in the local area.

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Information Session this Week at UCI

Are you a bilingual (Spanish) undergraduate at UCI and would like to know more about how you can practice your Spanish with students attending a dual immersion program near campus?  Are you interested in becoming a bilingual teacher?  Please come to this information session this Thursday, 3/14/13, at noon, to learn more about dual immersion programs and how you can become a bilingual teacher.

RSVP by 5 pm on Tuesday, 3/12/13.

See flyer for more information:  Become a Bilingual Tutor or Teacher


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Become a Bilingual Teacher at UCI

If you are fluent in Spanish, Mandarin or French and are graduating this year with your bachelor’s degree, consider a career in teaching.  There are many bilingual teaching positions available;  dual-language immersion programs at the elementary and secondary level are growing in California and other states (see recent Bilingual Teacher Facebook posts).

The School of Education at the University of California, Irvine is offering a $1,500 incentive to all applicants interested in receiving a teacher credential in one of their programs.  Eligibility requirements and specific information regarding this incentive is as follows:

Applicants who complete their file by March 4, 2013, if admitted and matriculated in fall 2013, will receive a Startup Cost Incentive of $1,500 USD after the third week of fall quarter enrollment.

A complete file includes:  application, statement of purpose, official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, letters of recommendation, Certificate of Clearance, TB Test, verification of CBEST & CSET passage or evidence of registration, and GRE scores or verification of registration for test date if an MAT application.

If you are interested in teaching at a dual-immersion school or a world language at the secondary level, you are also eligible for a TEACH Grant that is worth approximately $4,000.

It’s a good time to become a bilingual teacher!

For more information and updates about the incentive, please see:  UCI School of Education Startup Cost Incentive

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