K-12 English Language Learners (ELL’s)

Advocacy Day 2015

We urge legislators to expand the number of Early Learning and K-12 dual language programs in Washington state as a means of closing the academic opportunity gap. Increase the bilingual teaching workforce to provide all Washington students with the best opportunity to succeed. Please pass bills: SB 5675 HB 1783.

  • About 11% of students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools are English Language Learners
  • 30% of students in Seattle speak a language other than English at home
  • Students are enrolled from over 98 countries, lending to 129 languages spoken in Seattle Public Schools


K-12Bhagi Biswa was born in a Bhutanese refugee camp in eastern Nepal where she spent the first sixteen years of her life in a suffocating and congested environment. In 2009 she and her family moved to Seattle, WA. Bhagi enrolled at Foster High School in Tukwila as a freshman student. She had a hard time adjusting to life in a new country, including the school system and the language, which cause her grades to suffer as a result.

After a few months, she came to know about the After School SeaTac Youth Program for homework help by bilingual staff. She started attending the program regularly for school help and is classified as an English Language Learners student. According to her, the after school program become a turning point that changed her course of life. From this program she got homework help to boost her grades, made new friends, and developed leadership and social skills that helped her assimilate into American main stream society. Her newly learned leadership and social skills gave her the opportunity to join different clubs in school and earned her several school and community awards. She has recently graduated from Foster High School with excellent grades and plans on attending Western Washington University on a pre-med track. She hopes to work as a doctor one day.

The after school assistance Bhagi received through bilingual teachers was the boost she needed to succeed in school and accomplish her dreams. K-12 English Language Learner students can have the means to achieve their goals with the right teaching assistance and support from those who speak their native language.


“Without education your children can never really meet the challenges they face.”  -Nelson Mandela


Resources to check out:

City of Seattle Early Learning Mapping