What is the Standard English Proficiency Program?

Following are explanations from the Oakland Unififed School District on the Standard English Proficiency Program (SEP).


The Standard English Proficiency Program (SEP) is a cultural-linguistic program which empowers African-American students with knowledge and understanding of African and African-American culture and languages. Classroom instruction demonstrates the differences in the language spoken in the student’s home and Standard English. The teacher and school community embrace the language the students bring to the classroom and build a bridge to Standard English. The teacher and school community ac-knowledge and understand the student’s language. Students may cross the bridge from the language they speak to Standard English with pride and dignity. The student understands and accepts the need to be able to communicate effectively in Standard English in appropriate situations. The framework of the curriculum includes a variety of teaching methods and literary genre to prepare students for the global economy of the 21st Century.



  • A child’s language represents the norm of his or her family and community.
  • If a child can express a concept in any language, he or she possesses the concept.
  • The teacher must provide as realistic a context for language experiences as possible, using materials from the child’s culture.
  • The child’s self-identity must be supported at all times.
  • The history of the social isolation (de facto and de jure) of Africans in diaspora has served to preserve African Language patterns of speech.
  • African-American Language is a complete, well-ordered language system with rules for forming sounds, words, sentences, and non-verbal elements.



  • The unique history and culture of each child must be recognized and respected.
  • The dignity of a person is not guaranteed unless the dignity of his or her people is preserved.
  • Language is an integral part of one’s culture.
  • Teaching methodology must accommodate the culture and language of the child.
  • Acceptance and appreciation of one’s native language and culture enhances second language learning.
  • Students are enhanced intellectually and academically by the mastery of many languages.