Delaware’s Multlingual Learner Fact Sheet

December 14, 2022

Data and Stories Intersect on Multilingual Learner Project

Fact sheet and video shine spotlight on Delaware’s multilingual students
Delaware’s multilingual learner students, the state’s fastest-growing student demographic, are primarily native-born Americans, highly concentrated in Sussex County, and speak nearly 100 native languages, according to a fact sheet and video project launched by Rodel, the Delaware Hispanic Commission, the Arsht-Cannon Fund, and Delaware English Language Learners Teachers and Advocates (DELLTA).

Recent data also affirm MLL students need support in Delaware.

The fact sheet, a follow up to a 2017 fact sheet series produced by these same partners, aim to raise the overall knowledge of multilingual learners (MLLs) in Delaware, while drawing attention to the urgent need for Delaware to update its public school funding system, which puts MLL students at a unique disadvantage.

An accompanying video captures the stories and perspectives of local educators and graduates, including:

  • Margie López Waite, CEO, Las Américas ASPIRA Academy
  • Casey Cashdollar, Educator, Delaware English Language Learners Teachers & Advocates (DELLTA)
  • Kimberly Stock, Multilingual Learner Teacher, McKean High School
  • Valentina Maza, Student, College of Holy Cross

Blending state- and national-level data with infographics and personal anecdotes, the fact sheet and video bring to light compelling information while myth-busting common misconceptions about multilingual students in the First State.

“All Delaware children deserve the opportunity to pursue their dreams. For this to happen, we must all recognize the potential in every child, including the more than 14,000-plus multilingual students in Delaware,” said Christine Cannon, executive director of the Arsht-Cannon Fund.

“Multilingualism is something we should celebrate and encourage in our students,” said Carlos de los Ramos, chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission. “Instead of allowing the status quo to create barriers for these students, we should be doing everything in our power to support them and their families.”

“Our schools and our educators are working hard to support MLL students. But ultimately, these children are everyone’s responsibility, and the fact remains that additional resources are needed to deliver quality education to these students,” said Jackie Wager, president of Delaware English Language Learners Teachers and Advocates (DELLTA).

“Delaware is one of few states nationally that does not provide sustainable funding to support multilingual learners—and the funding we do provide is an additional $600 per student, while Maryland provides over $7,000 more per MLL student,” said Paul Herdman, CEO of Rodel. “We’ve made some improvements to our funding system, but we’re long overdue for a fair, modern system that meets the needs of our students.”

Click here to watch Students of Language: How Delaware Teachers are Reaching Multilingual Learners


Click Here to Explore the Full Fact Sheet
About the Delaware Hispanic Commission: The Delaware Hispanic Commission advocates and pushes for much-needed resources for Delaware Hispanics, the fastest-growing population in the First State. It is committed to enriching the lives of the Hispanic community by improving delivery of services, raising awareness of issues at state agencies, suggesting solutions to state leaders and agencies, and keeping the Hispanic community informed of state assistance available for all Delaware residents.

About the Arsht-Cannon Fund: Created in 2004, the Arsht-Cannon Fund at the Delaware Community Fund is a donor-advised fund directed by Adrienne Arsht, Chair of the Arsht-Cannon Foundation’s advisory committee. Originally planned by the Honorable Roxanna Cannon Arsht and S. Samuel Arsht, involved citizens of Delaware who endeavored to give back to their beloved home state through their service and wealth, the fund was created to “preserve, support, protect, and defend the best interests of a civil society.”

About Delaware English Language Learners Teachers and Advocates (DELLTA): Delaware English Language Learners Teachers and Advocates (DELLTA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the English language learning population in Delaware. Its goals include advocating for appropriate legislation, creating public awareness of EL issues, and promoting improvement in teaching EL students.

About Rodel: Rodel is a nonprofit organization that partners with Delawareans and educational innovators from around the world to transform public education in the First State.