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Rhode Island Announces First-ever Blueprint for Multilingual Learners Success

Blueprint serves as a foundational document to set expectations for a successful education for MLL students 

PROVIDENCE, RI – Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green announced that the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has released the Rhode Island Blueprint for Multilingual Learners Success for public review and feedback. This draft Blueprint will serve as a foundational document used to set the expectations for a successful education experience for Multilingual Learner (MLL) students throughout the state. Rhode Island is home to 23,931 current and former MLL students who speak over 100 languages and comprise 16% of the total student population.

“I’m excited to announce the release of this Blueprint for MLL students throughout our state,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “After reviewing the results of the ACCESS assessments from last year, we know we need a clear path to success for our MLL students. This work is the product of close collaboration amongst educational professionals and community members that unequivocally affirms the cultural and linguistic assets of our MLLs and sets priorities for continuous improvement in serving these students, who for too long have not had access to the support they need to succeed.”

The Blueprint is paired with a Strategic Plan that delineates high leverage strategies and action steps that RIDE, along with local education agencies (LEAs) and stakeholders, will implement in the next five years. Ultimately, this multiyear endeavor will place all educators in a position to provide high-quality evidence-based instruction for MLLs to be successful in learning English and rigorous grade-level content to graduate college, career, and life ready. MLLs must be supported every day in every classroom by instruction that draws on their cultural and language assets, engages them in rigorous academic instruction and discourse, integrates academic language and content, and provides ongoing assessment and feedback.

RIDE has already begun work on one of the actions outlined in the strategic plan, the expansion of bilingual and dual language programs in RI. Last month and in collaboration with the Rhode Island Foundation, RIDE announced the expansion of these programs in Rhode Island through the allocation of competitive planning grants for LEAs. A pre-application has been released for expansion of these critical programs and six LEAs have applied.

“We’re glad to partner with RIDE on this critical work,” said Neil D. Steinberg, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation. “Supporting the expansion of bilingual and dual language programs in our public schools aligns squarely with our educational success strategy, recent long-term planning efforts with a focus on educational equity, and most importantly will help to close achievement gaps.”

In 2018-19, fewer than 10% of current MLLs met or exceeded expectations on the Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System (RICAS, grades 3-8), the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT, grade 11) and the Next Generation Science Assessment (NGSA, grades 5, 8, and 11). The Blueprint delineates a Vision for MLLs and a set of interrelated principles to strengthen educational policies, programs, and practices for all MLLs.   

Last week RIDE released the 2020 ACCESS 2.0 results. Out of the 15,555 students who participated in the assessment in February 2020: 

  • 13,000 of our students were economically disadvantaged 
  • 1,544 students were in 4th grade, the largest representation from one grade, followed by 1,452 in Kindergarten 
  • 11,581 students identified as Hispanic or Latino 
  • 2,358 students were differently abled students 
  • 165 students participated in the Alternate ACCESS assessment, designed for MLLs with significant cognitive differences who meet eligibility requirements 
  • 7,710 students were from Providence 
  • 4% of multilingual learners achieved English language proficiency 

The draft publication of Rhode Island’s Blueprint for MLL Success and the Strategic Plan is a step forward to timely engage all stakeholders to provide input and feedback. Stakeholders can provide feedback in English, Portugués and Español. More information on RI’s Blueprint for MLL Success will be available on the RIDE website.