Press Release:


December 13, 2018

  • Contact: Elsa Covarrubias
    Public Information Officer
  • Phone: (714) 517-7513
  • Email:

ANAHEIM— Anaheim Elementary School District will be starting Orange County’s first Korean Dual Language Immersion program in the Summer of 2019. The district currently has award-winning Spanish DLI programs at 8 schools, and by this summer all 23 school sites will offer DLI opportunities for students who are interested. The Korean DLI program will be offered at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. As the district expands the DLI programs and considered what languages to add, Korean was chosen based on input from the community and because there is a strong Korean community in Orange County, but no existing Korean DLI program. Anaheim is the 3rd largest city in the nation with a Korean-speaking population, and neighboring city Fullerton is the top medium sized city with a Korean-speaking population.

“We are excited that AESD will be pioneering the first Korean Dual Language Immersion program in Orange County. Our district is committed to creating the best learning opportunities possible for our students. We already have one of the nation’s leading elementary music education programs, and now being able to be the first to offer elementary students the opportunity to learn Korean in this setting really demonstrates our commitment to be a leader in education”, said Anaheim Elementary School District Superintendent, Christopher Downing.

The Korean language is considered a critical language by the State Department and is also a key language is the business world, with South Korea having the 11th largest economy in world and a burgeoning prominence in the field of technology. The opportunity for AESD students to learn Korean will give them a distinguished skill set and a competitive edge in the 21st century global economy.

“Starting a Korean Dual Language Immersion program is an exciting venture for us. Dual language programs are on the rise in California, and for good reason. We are proud to offer this wonderful opportunity to our students to gain proficiency in a second language as well as receive a world-class STEAM education”, said Dr. Sandra Song, principal at Jefferson Elementary School, who herself studied Korean as a child in a Saturday school setting.

Anaheim Elementary School District has been a regional leader in dual language immersion, with 12 years of experience and numerous awards and recognitions. Although second language classes are traditionally available in secondary school districts and some elementary schools, the unique dual language immersion model helps develop bilingualism and biliteracy in English and a second language by immersing students in the target language beginning in kindergarten.

“I am incredibly proud that our district will be the first in the county to offer our students and families dual language immersion in Korean. Multiple research studies have demonstrated the significant cognitive benefits derived from dual language immersion programs, as well as the long-term educational and career benefits that multilingual students accrue”, said Dr. J. Paolo Magcalas, AESD School Board Clerk.


About Anaheim Elementary School District

The Anaheim Elementary School district serves more than 16,000 students at 23 campuses in the city of Anaheim, making us the largest elementary school district in Orange County and the second largest in the state of California. We are committed to providing engaging and equitable learning opportunities for all students through our STEAM,Dual Language, and music education programs which are available from TK through 6th grade. Our award-winning schools, innovative programs, and one-of-a-kind community partnerships make us an educational leader in the region and prepare students for success in the 21st Century.

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