FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Fresno Unified has a new plan to preserve cultural identity and increase chances of success for students, learning English.
Blong Xiong, a community advocate said, "It's been years of effort, years of work."
He spoke at a press conference for the Hmong students-- the kids who are a lot like he was, going to schools where the culture isn't always embraced.
"The 40 years that we've been here, we've seen a loss in terms of our cultural identity and language," Xiong said.
Part of the problem, Xiong said, is the district's Master Plan for English Learners, which has stayed the same for nearly a decade. He joined a committee to fix it and the Superintendent, Michael Hanson unveiled the recommended improvements on Wednesday. At the top of the list, would be the hiring of teachers to expand Hmong courses at all high schools, as well as after-school programs and tutoring.
"These recommendations are critical for us," Superintendent Hanson added, "they outline key resources to provide even more opportunities for our English learners to become college and career ready graduates."
Other changes would increase dual immersion programs and summer school opportunities for all 17,000 students in the district who are learning English.
Juan Arambula who remembers his days in the first grade, only speaking Spanish and how difficult it was, said this updated plan is necessary.
"They (the students) deserve as good of a chance, as anybody else to show what they can do and go as far as they can," Arambula said.
The district will discuss the changes, get more input from the community and come back with a final draft in the summer.