About Us

Casco Bay Make It Happen! Graduates

Our Mission

The Portland Public Schools’ Multilingual & Multicultural Center is responsible for empowering every learner to make a difference in the world by ensuring proficiency in English and other world languages and deepening student’s appreciation and understanding of their own cultural identity as well as others. We build relationships among families, educators, and the community to promote the healthy development and academic achievement of every learner.

Our History

Portland Public Schools' education program for English Language Learners began in 1980 with approximately fifty K-12 students from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The first program was partially funded through a federal grant which allowed the district to design an effective educational program and develop teaching and learning materials appropriate to the needs of the students. Since then, Portland's multilingual community has grown exponentially and become increasingly more diverse. Currently, there are approximately 2,300 language minority students in the District who speak over 60 different languages. Of these, 1,600 students are English language learners. For more information about this, see our Demographic Data.

Today, the Multilingual and Multicultural Center is a multi-faceted organization overseeing the English language acquisition of the District’s English Language Learners in grades K-12 and World Language acquisition of all students learning a language other than English.

What We Do

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