featured graphic for Californians Together during COVID-19

Anaheim Elementary School District and Anaheim Union High School District have been named recipients of the 2021 Lynne Aoki Multiple Pathways District Recognition Award (LAMPDRA). Renamed this year in memory of bilingual and multicultural education advocate, Lynne Aoki, this award given by Californians Together celebrates districts that are leading the way to world-class language education in preschool through 12th grade.

An award ceremony will take place during the California Association for Bilingual Education’s (CABE) 2021 Virtual Conference on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 4:50 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall at the Californians Together Virtual Booth.

“We are so proud to uplift these districts doing exemplary work to enable all students to attain high levels of proficiency in two or more languages. We’re especially proud that this is the first year we are presenting the award in honor of our warrior, Lynne Aoki, who devoted her life to advocating for bilingual education and multicultural education programs for English learners and immigrant students,” said Martha Hernández, Executive Director of Californians Together.

Both districts met multiple criteria to qualify including:

  • Establishing a State Seal of Biliteracy Program (grades 9-12) for at least two years
  • Benchmarking progress toward high levels of biliteracy by recognizing and awarding students along a continuum (grades K-8)
  • Offering well-articulated pathway programs PreK – 12th grade
  • Providing access to language study across the district and accessible to all communities
  • Hiring qualified staff
  • Instituting a district, school and community culture for celebrating languages and cultural diversity

Anaheim Elementary School District’s (AESD) long history of valuing biliteracy and multilingualism made it a stand out, which includes the passage of multiple board resolutions in support of biliteracy, the articulation and strong partnership with Anaheim Union High School District to ensure that students have the opportunity and pathways to earn the State Seal of Biliteracy upon high school graduation, and the priority placed on hiring biliterate, diverse teachers.

“Anaheim Elementary School District provides a high-quality education designed to reach and teach all students and to prepare them for a bright and promising future in our rapidly changing world. By being the first district to offer Dual Language Immersion at all of our 23 schools we eliminated barriers and have provided access to all our students. AESD is proud to provide a pathway that develops multiple language proficiency, fosters cultural and linguistic appreciation and cross cultural competency needed to flourish within our global community, said Dr. Christopher Downing, Superintendent of AESD.

Of special note is the districts’ Transforming Academic and Cultural Identidad through Biliteracy (TACIB) prototype project developed to create a dual language option in mathematics and science for students entering junior high school. The district also offers the only Korean Dual Language Immersion Program in Orange County.

The selection committee also recognized Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) for being a pioneer in the implementation of the Seal of Biliteracy before legislation was passed. The district has passed multiple board resolutions in support of biliteracy, issued a jointly written dual language vision statement with feeder elementary schools, and made it a priority to hire biliterate, diverse teachers.

Upon learning about their selection for this award, Superintendent Michael Matsuda said “We are proud of the 54 languages represented by our scholars and their families at Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD). We worked diligently to offer American Sign Language, Arabic, French, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese World Languages, as well as Spanish Dual Language Immersion and Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion (the first secondary Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion program in the United States). We are proud that yearly over 1,100 Seal of Biliteracy Awards are earned by our seniors in fifteen different languages, and hundreds of AUHSD and Orange County Department of Education Pathways to Biliteracy Awards are earned by our eighth grade scholars.”

“It is a tremendous honor for Anaheim Union High School District to be selected to receive the inaugural 2021 Lynne Aoki Multiple Pathways District Recognition Award. I was blessed with knowing Lynne for twenty years. She was a champion of advocating for multiliteracy, English learners and students of color in particular,” he added.

Originally called the Multiple Pathways District Recognition Award, the award was renamed to honor Lynne Aoki who passed away in November of 2019. She was a founder and board member of Californians Together.

Aoki was a third-generation Californian, who at an early age knew that she would and could not tolerate injustice. Whether it was confronting a bully or making a public stand against prejudice, she felt compelled to act. One memorable fight against injustice concluded when she accepted a posthumous diploma from UC Berkeley that had been denied to her father because he was one of many Japanese Americans interned during WWII.

She focused her professional efforts on increasing equity and excellence in education, with a particular emphasis on English language acquisition, bilingual education and multicultural education programs for English learners and immigrant students.

Aoki also played a leadership role in local, state, and national organizations. She was an active participant in CABE – the California Association of Bilingual Education. She also served on the Board of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) as a Regional Director.

This article was released by the Californians Together.