SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) _ School is back in session in San Francisco and officials have new plans to help some of the many students who live in homes where English is not the primary language.

The program is aimed at “heritage” learners, those students living at homes where Russian or Japanese is the primary language.

A $1.5 million federal grant will help those students with English, while honoring their background.

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“Connection to their home culture is a very important part of this program,” said Margaret Peterson, program administrator of world language and multilingual education at the San Francisco Unified School District. “We have a moral obligation to these students to protect that language. To honor it, to celebrate it so that they are able to communicate proficiently both in English and their home language.”

There are approximately a thousand Russian and Japanese heritage learners in the district, which is a cultural melting pot.

The school system has dozens of programs to help students in 12 languages and Peterson said the new grant helps with one of the district’s stated goals, offering multilingualism for all children.


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