Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) held a “Going Global Launch Party” on Thursday, September 21, with district administrators, elected officials, community partners, and media to celebrate the opening of the district’s first ever Vietnamese Dual Language Program at Murdy Elementary School. The program began in September with 34 transitional kindergarten students from across the school district.
GGUSD is only the second school district in Orange County, and fourth in the nation, to offer a Vietnamese Dual Language Program. It’s a natural fit at Murdy Elementary School which is located in the heart of Little Saigon and serves a student population that is approximately 70% Vietnamese.
“The Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion program has been a labor of love to get up and running,” said Lan Nguyen, Board of Education President. “We are excited to give these very small students one gigantic opportunity that paves the way for their academic success.”
Many dignitaries attended the event to show their support for the program, including Senator Janet Nguyen, Westminster Mayor Tri Ta, Garden Grove Mayor Pro Tem Phat Bui, Westminster School Board Trustee Frances Nguyen, and representatives from the offices of Congressman Lou Correa, State Assemblyman Travis Allen, State Assemblyman Tom Daly, and Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do.
Others in attendance included Murdy Elementary School parents and partners who helped bring the program to fruition, including the California Association of Bilingual Education (CABE), the National Resource Center for Asian Languages (NRCAL), and members of the district’s Vietnamese Focus Group.
Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education Sara Wescott and Principal Marcie Griffith highlighted the progress students have made after only two weeks of school. They also provided background of how the program began, including a recommendation from CABE and a two-year study of preschool-aged students, evaluation and review of available materials, and a partnership with Dr. Natalie Tran with NRCAL to help develop the materials for the program.
This marks the second dual language program in the district. Last year, GGUSD opened a Spanish Dual Language program, which now serves 300 students at Monroe Elementary Language Academy