The Learning English for Academic Proficiency and Success (LEAPS) Act was passed in Minnesota in 2014 to add an increased emphasis on English learner support. The law is embedded into many existing statutes, including early childhood, curriculum and instruction, higher education, adult education, and teacher licensing. It adds a definition and accountability reporting for Students with Limited Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE). It also adds a provision for districts to institute bilingual and multilingual seals on high school diplomas for students who demonstrate certain levels of language proficiency in native and world languages. The LEAPS Act also requires educators to be skilled in developing the English language proficiency of their English learners.
The LEAPS Act is regarded as an important piece of legislation to support the academic success of the state’s growing English Learner population. It emphasizes bilingualism and multilingualism as an asset and gives a definition for cultural competence and cultural competency for statewide accountability purposes.
Key LEAPS Act Provisions
The LEAPS Act creates policy space for our state to progressively support multilingual learners and their families. Together with ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) and WBWF (World’s Best Workforce), these three laws ensure that:
- Multilingualism and multiculturalism are positioned as educational and economic assets.
- Teachers and administrators receive appropriate preparation and continued professional development to support multilingual learners.
- Instruction is differentiated for the diversity of multilingual learners.
- Multicultural family voices are engaged and included in the educational process.
The LEAPS Act can be found in 42 statutes. View Key LEAPs Act Provisions.
Minnesota Bilingual and Multilingual Seals and World Language Proficiency Certificates
Minnesota districts and charter schools may award Minnesota bilingual and multilingual seals and world language proficiency certificates upon graduation to high school students who, in grades 10, 11, or 12, demonstrated the required levels of language proficiency on languages other than English, including American Sign Language (ASL) and American Indian (indigenous) languages. Minnesota State (formerly MnSCU) will award college credit to enrolling students with bilingual and multilingual seals and world language proficiency certificates. Students must request college credit when they enroll in a Minnesota State college or university, within three academic years of high school graduation.