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Portland Public Schools

Multilingual & Multicultural Center

Demographic Data | Staff |


The Multilingual and Multicultural Center oversees Portland Public Schools' English Language Acquisition Program for students whose home language is not English. To ensure equal access to educational opportunities for these students, the Center provides support services in the areas of classroom instruction, summer academic programs, staff development, curriculum and materials development, assessment, parent and community outreach, and advocacy.

Over the years, Portland's Multilingual community has grown exponentially and become increasingly more diverse. Currently, the district has over 2,200 students who come from homes where over 60 different languages are spoken. The students represent about 25% of Portland Public Schools' total enrollment; some 1,400 of them are identified as English Language Learners

Portland Public Schools’ educational program for English Language Learners (ELLs) began in 1980 with approximately fifty K-12 students from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The first program was partially funded through a federal grant which allowed the district to design an effective educational program and develop teaching and learning materials appropriate to the needs of ELLs. Through the Center’s efforts, the school district has been awarded various innovative grants by the U. S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition and has earned national recognition as a Program of Academic Excellence.

The Multilingual and Multicultural Center houses the Family Welcome Center, the Multicultural Resource Library, and the Intensive English Language Program for high school newcomers. The Family Welcome Center coordinates the registration, intake data, health screening, and English language proficiency/literacy assessment of language minority students entering Portland Public Schools. The Multicultural Resource Library has a special collection of books, professional materials, and videos in 24 different languages available on loan to staff, parents, and community members. An Intensive English Language Program serves high school-age students who are newcomers with no schooling or literacy in their native language.

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Portland Public Schools Multilingual and Multicultural Center