June 9, 2023
The new collection of titles provides a unique population of students and families with enhanced digital books to support their reading journey
OXNARD, CA. (June 9, 2023) – Oxnard School District, which serves more than 15,000 students in TK–grade 8, and Renaissance, a leading provider of education technology, are pleased to announce the release of six new books in the Mixteco language. The new books, which include natural-voice audio narration by native Mixteco speakers to model fluent reading, are available to Oxnard students through myON, a popular digital reading and literacy platform from Renaissance.
Mixteco is an indigenous language predominantly from Oaxaca, Mexico, with a strong presence in California—particularly in Ventura County. With 65 variants of the Mixteco language, the variant heard in these books originates in the southern region of Oaxaca, specifically the San Martín Peras community. Long recognized for its commitment to dual-language education and biliteracy, Oxnard School District sees the addition of books in Mixteco as key to its mission of serving all students and families in the community—and to honoring all the language assets that students bring to the classroom.
The idea for the project dates to a Family Reading Night event hosted by the district’s education services team, led by Dr. Anabolena DeGenna. During the event, Mixteco-speaking district staff were brought in for the first time to provide oral translations of myON books into Mixteco. This soon flourished into a formal initiative to translate 25 myON titles into Mixteco by next fall, and to make them accessible to all students in the district. The first six titles chosen are directed toward early readers to involve families in the experience of reading with their children and supporting their learning to read in a native language.
“Oxnard has the second-largest population of Mixteco-speaking families in the world, and we take great pride in valuing and honoring these families’ unique heritage,” said Dr. Karling Aguilera-Fort, Oxnard School District’s superintendent. “We are thrilled to announce the launch of these digital books. Mixteco-speaking families will now have the opportunity to read and listen to stories in their own language, allowing us to celebrate and preserve their rich culture.”
“We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Renaissance for partnering with us and making these valuable resources available,” he added. “Together, we are fostering inclusivity, diversity, and a deep appreciation for the languages and cultures that make our community thrive. It is through initiatives like this that we can truly make a difference.”
In addition to serving as the district’s superintendent, Dr. Aguilera-Fort is also an officer of the California Association for Bilingual Education, or CABE. The CABE leadership has been highly supportive of this initiative, which aligns with the organization’s mission of supporting biliteracy, multicultural competency, and educational equity for all California students.
As part of the district’s partnership with Renaissance, district staff and Oxnard community members selected the 25 myON titles to be translated into Mixteco. The district’s own translators then undertook the translations and recorded the audio narration in order to ensure that the books reflect the nuances of the Mixteco language as it’s spoken in Ventura County. In addition to listening to the audio narration, students can also use myON to record themselves reading the Mixteco books aloud, to support the development of reading fluency in a native language.
“Renaissance understands that schools can be the hub of their community culture,” said Todd Brekhus, Chief Product Officer at Renaissance and Nearpod General Manager. “We are delighted to support Oxnard with this joint project that provides myON titles in Mixteco to support students and the community. Language preservation and promoting bilingualism are core to our values of accelerating learning for all.”
“After months of hard work, we are excited to see this project blossom within the Oxnard community,” said Amy Callahan, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Renaissance. “Renaissance is proud to be a part of creating a space for belonging and inclusion within the district, helping educators see every student.”
About Oxnard School District
In Oxnard School District, we nurture self-confident and empowered multilingual global citizens, strong in their multiple identities and potential, who achieve inspired levels of individual, community, and social accomplishment in school and beyond in their endeavors. For more information, visit https://www.oxnardsd.org/Page/9
As a leader in education technology, Renaissance is committed to providing educators with insights and resources to accelerate growth and help all students build a strong foundation for success. For more information, visit https://www.renaissance.com.
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