Helios Education Foundation’s Dual Language Learner Project

Helios Education Foundation’s Dual Language Learner Project: Early Impacts of Emergent Literacy and Language Acquisition Skills for Educators and Pre-K Students

As Helios Education Foundation works to create more equitable education systems, the Foundation recognizes the importance of addressing the needs of our youngest learners. Helios is implementing robust professional development research projects in Arizona and Florida aimed at improving the language and emergent literacy of children entering kindergarten, using a two-way language immersion model. In two-way immersion, children who speak English and children who speak Spanish both learn content together, through both languages. This report, the second in a set of education briefs about the project in Arizona (see Ortiz et al., n.d.), includes initial data on how dual language learning (DLL) is influencing classroom practices and children’s learning.

To guide our work in Arizona and Florida, Helios commissioned a multi-year research study with our partners. The goal is to examine both the implementation of the program, and, more importantly, its impacts on teachers’ use of high-quality teaching strategies and on children’s acquisition of language and literacy skills. We believe this work will spur the use of innovative and effective instructional strategies for our youngest English Language Learners (ELLs), helping to ensure their success in kindergarten and beyond. We plan to disseminate our research results to inform public policy and practice.

The goal of this brief, authored by researchers at Educate Tomorrow and Helios, is to share preliminary findings regarding the opportunities available to youth in the Florida foster care system, as well as data trends around their implementation. It is our hope that legislators, leaders at institutions of higher education, and community organizations will use these findings to promote strategies and practices designed to increase the overall postsecondary attainment of Florida’s youth from foster care.

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