Local districts launch the first preschool-to-high school Vietnamese-English bilingual pathway

Westminster School District and Huntington Beach Union High School District launches Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program Pathway
Educators and representatives from the Westminster and Huntington Beach Union High school districts gathered at Westminster High to unveil the joint Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program pathway on March 20.

The Westminster School District’s inaugural cohort of students who learned both English and Vietnamese since kindergarten will seamlessly continue their bilingual education in high school through a partnership with the Huntington Beach Union High School District.

The collaborators held a celebration on March 20 at the Sylvia Mendez Learning Pavilion on the Westminster High School campus to showcase the preschool through 12th-grade Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion — often referred to as VDLI — program pathway, claimed as the nation’s first by the school districts.

“I am confident that our students will flourish within the VDLI program and continue to make meaningful contributions within our community for generations to come,” Westminster High School Principal Amy Sabol said. 

The program begins at the preschool level at DeMille Elementary School, where native Vietnamese and English-speaking students are placed in the same class with academic instruction in both languages. These students transition into sixth- through eighth-grade levels at Warner Middle School before matriculating to Westminster High School for the remainder of the pathway. 

Westminster High School Principal Amy Sabol welcomed guests to the pathway celebration event.
Westminster High School Principal Amy Sabol welcomed guests to the pathway celebration event.

At Westminster High, students will have access to various cultural and academic enrichment activities on campus, including the Tết Fair, Vietnamese American Culture Club, field trips and community engagement opportunities. 

“I am very blessed, for I love what I do: teaching the Vietnamese language and culture to the young generation,” Thảo Ly Nguyễn, Vietnamese language educator at Westminster High School, said. “The VDLI Pathway at WHS would not be possible without the tremendous contributions from the parents and educators from Westminster School District, HBUHSD and our Lion family.” 

Through this partnership, students will continue to gain proficiency in two languages simultaneously, fostering bilingualism and biliteracy. Moreover, it’s designed to develop cross-cultural relationships and a deep respect for self, family, school and community. 

Ultimately, students have the opportunity to earn prestigious awards such as the California State Seal of Biliteracy, which recognizes students’ dedication and achievement in mastering multiple languages with a gold seal on their diploma or transcript. 

To learn more about the program, visit the Westminster School District’s VDLI program webpage or call 714-894-7311.