Dual-Language Programs on the Rise Across the U.S.

Graduates in white and purple robes exited the auditorium, their newly turned tassels bouncing as they sang and danced to a recording of the popular Latin salsa tune, “Vivir Mi Vida.”

They had just graduated from the Margarita Muñiz Academy in Boston — many with more than a high school diploma. Forty-six of the 51 new alumni of the dual-language school had also earned a Seal of Biliteracy, an official recognition of their academic proficiency in both English and Spanish.

“The majority of these students speak to their families in Spanish,” said Frances Esparza, assistant superintendent of the Office of English Language Learners for Boston Public Schools. “They love that they have that connection and that they kept their language.” And though that’s one perk of learning Spanish and English side-by-side for these students, the Seal of Biliteracy also looks good on a resumé — for college and beyond.“What it does is it kind of flags universities to see that this student has put that extra effort into their studies,” Esparza said of the June graduates. Studies have shown that they “are more prone to go to four-year universities and continue in their program and finish their program.”