Leveling the Playing Field for for Berkeley High’s Multilingual Community

Studying for tests in high school gets a whole lot more complicated when you’re new to the United States and still learning English! So to lighten the load for the English Learners in Berkeley High’s Multilingual Program (MLP), Program Coordinator & Lead Teacher Daniella Maaze pursued a LEADING for Equity grant from the Berkeley Public Schools Fund. 

With her 2021-22 digital equity grant in hand, Maaze was able to purchase an entire cart of Chromebooks this winter to augment in-school digital access while also gaining the flexibility to allow at-home digital use.

“When the pandemic hit last year, our dedicated Chromebook cart ended up being distributed to students in need, so MLP students started this school year with very limited computer access,” described Maaze. “However, with this grant from the Schools Fund, our students have finally regained the opportunity to engage with technology on a regular basis. This has been a huge digital equity leap for our students! Having access to Chromebooks every day not only makes learning more accessible and fun for them, but also helps them be more prepared for computer-based state tests.”

As one of Berkeley High’s small learning communities, the Multilingual Program (formerly known as the Newcomer program) serves 78 students from 32 different countries in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Students come with 22 different home languages. Most MLP students have recently immigrated to the United States and they and their families are still learning to navigate the area, the language, the culture and the school system.

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