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Talk about immersion support: Washington DC has a Language Immersion Project non-profit

October 18, 2020

From: The DC Line

Feb. 3, 2020

When Vanessa Bertelli moved with her family from Shanghai to Washington in 2010, she was sure her children would have access to dual language education. It is, after all, the nation’s capital. A child of a bilingual family, Bertelli grew up in Switzerland speaking English and Italian, surrounded by multilingualclassmates.

“Coming to DC and realizing that there were so few programs was really shocking to me,” she said. 

Bertelli realized at a young age the value of multilingualism because she saw the positive effects it had in her classes. “Understanding that not everyone thinks like you is a huge part of being more tolerant,” she said. “I appreciate that, and want that for the place I’m living in.”   

Bertelli began advocating for dual language programs soon after arriving in the District. In 2012 she joined a small community of parents and families working to start a dual language program in their neighborhood school, Garrison Elementary — an effort that was unsuccessful. 

Seeing a need to inform DC families, educators and lawmakers of the benefits and options for language learning, Bertelli went on to launch the DC Language Immersion Project in 2014 alongside Jimell Sanders, now chair of the organization’s board. In partnership with multiple DC agencies, the group sponsored the city’s fourth annual Multilingual Education Fair on Jan. 25, drawing 145 exhibitors and a daylong stream of families to the Roosevelt High School atrium.

Please read more here.

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