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Samoan dual language pre-k program launched in CA

Students and teacher at Bayview school
Source: SF Bayview

San Francisco, CALIFORNIA — When the fall 2021-22 semester begins on Aug. 16, 2021, the Leola M. Havard Early Education School in the Bayview Hunters Point — a California Bay area community — will offer for the first time a new dual language program.

The San Francisco Unified School District is set to begin instruction in the Samoan language to pre-k students at Havard, which will be the first school in the district to offer early education instruction in the Samoan language.

“We’re super excited to bring this to the Bayview,” said SFUSD School Board Vice President Faauuga Moliga. “Why the Bayview? Because Bayview is the home to the largest Samoan population in San Francisco. [SFUSD Samoan students] all reside in either Potrero Hill, out in Hunters Point or in Sunnydale. So, myself and Chief Meenoo are here today to talk about this amazing dual language pre-k program that we’re getting ready to kick off.”

Vice President Moliga joined me recently by Zoom, along with Meenoo Yashar, chief of SFUSD’s Early Education Department, and Laura Dudnick, SFUSD’s public relations manager. The trio announced the first Samoan dual language program at any SFUSD school during our interview, which you can watch in its entirety here.

“We have several dual language classrooms in SFUSD already,” said Chief Meenoo Yashar. Currently, there are four SFUSD schools that offer a pre-k dual language program in Cantonese and six other SFUSD schools offer a Spanish dual language learner pre-k program. Plus, Dual Language Immersion Pathway Programs are being taught at 15 SFUSD schools across the district.