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Fontana Unified Employees Receive Multilingual Recognition Award for Efforts to Develop Social, Cultural Competency


FONTANA, CA – Six Fontana Unified School District employees have gone above and beyond in their leadership, instruction, and commitment to English and multilingual learners, earning them the Multilingual Recognition Award from the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

The Multilingual Recognition Award was established in 1987 as a way to recognize the outstanding contributors that enrich the educational experience and academic achievement of linguistically diverse students. Awardees from various districts across San Bernardino County were honored at the 36th Annual Multilingual Recognition Celebration on April 28.

“Annual recognition of an award such as this really helps to promote and improve the quality of education for our language learners in the District,” said Martha Dueñas, Fontana Unified’s Director of Multilingual Programs and Services. “It takes so many individuals to come together and collaborate to be able to support our students and help them succeed.”

Redwood Elementary School Dual Language Immersion (DLI) teacher Rosa Gonzalez, Sequoia Middle School Spanish DLI teacher Veronica Torres Torres, Sequoia Social Studies DLI teacher Patsy Jiménez, Citrus High School Assistant Principal Amanda Wade, Enrollment Center Secretary Nona Sterwerf, and Enrollment Center Coordinator Mark Shalhoub all received certificates in acknowledgment of the award.

Fontana Unified School District offers many multilingual programs to aid students in the pathway to biliteracy, including an English Learner Program, Spanish Dual Language Immersion at the elementary and middle school levels, and World Language Immersion Programs across the high schools in Spanish, French, and Chinese.

The District is working on implementing a pathway to biliteracy framework that weaves these once-isolated programs into a comprehensive program that grants multiple entry points to students.

Multilingual programs teach students to read, write and speak in more than one language – skills that are valuable in their educational, personal and professional lives – and develop an understanding and respect for other languages and cultures.

“The skills our students learn prepare them to be competitive in their future endeavors,” Dueñas said. “By developing social and cultural competency, they will be able to make a difference both in the city of Fontana, and across the world.”