In 2016, the First 5 California (F5CA) Commission approved funding of $20 million between fiscal years 2016–17 through 2020–21, to support a Dual Language Learner (DLL) Pilot. The DLL Pilot study was designed to examine effective culturally and linguistically responsive strategies in instruction, professional development, and family engagement in early learning and care settings; and the conditions in which they are effective, sustainable, and scalable. The DLL Pilot was also used to increase awareness about the benefits of bilingualism and home language in early educators, families, and the public through the participation of Pilot sites, the Talk.Read.Sing.® campaign, and F5CA’s parent website. Due to COVID-19, the Commission approved the Pilot to be extended to June 2022 with additional supports for DLLs in the Expansion phase.
The DLL Pilot Study was implemented in three phases: background (phase 1), in-depth (phase 2), and expansion (phase 3). A summary of the research questions and study design, along with how the study was adapted to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on early learning settings, are highlighted in the DLL Pilot Study Oveview Document.
Sixteen CA counties participated in the DLL Pilot study. Counties were selected through a random selection process, and they are: Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Fresno, Los Angeles, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo
The three phases of the Pilot study and the research and evaluation findings from the American Institutes for Research (AIR) provided deeper insights about multi-lingual language learners, their families, how early childhood education systems and local county systems support their needs. Some of the highlights include:
- Partnering with families is critical: when families’ home language and culture are supported in school and at home, children show better outcomes
- Multilingualism is an asset: multilingualism improves cognitive abilities and changes brain architecture to promote short- and long-term success
- Caregivers need to understand how to work with these populations, which requires a systematic approach.
DLL Pilot Study Findings
F5CA contracted with AIR to carry out the research study and evaluation of the DLL Pilot. Information about the research team and study design are available on the AIR’s website at https://californiadllstudy.org/
Throughout the DLL Pilot, the AIR published evaluation findings in several reports. Among the publications includes the Summary of DLL Pilot Study Findings Brief. This brief provides an overview of the study, highlights the key findings, and shares recommendations for supporting DLLs and their families, through classroom instructional practices, family engagement strategies, and professional development for educators across early learning and care settings. The reports are available on the AIR’s web site https://californiadllstudy.org/reports.
Community of Practice (CoP)
DLL Pilot counties participated in CoPs every month between April 2021 – June 2022. The CoPs were part of the DLL Pilot Study Expansion Phase, designed to help First 5 California (F5CA) and its partners understand what it takes to implement effective DLL practices to scale and sustain them statewide. The DLL CoPs were implemented in partnership with the AIR, Advancement Project California, Early Edge California, and the California Department of Education Opportunities for All Branch; and were facilitated by the Glen Price Group (GPG) with funding from the Emerging Bilingual Collaborative.