English learners are students who are learning the English language in addition to their native language. Did you know from 2005-06 to 2015-16, K-12 English learner (EL) enrollment in Massachusetts schools increased nearly 66 percent? School age English learners are a growing population in Massachusetts. In our school district, a total of 60 students in grades K-12 have been identified as English Learners speaking many different languages, primarily Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.
Each school in the district is educating English learners. The majority of our English learners including newcomer students (students with little to no English skills) are educated in the Page Hilltop School. Under federal law, states, school districts, and schools are obligated to ensure that English Learners (ELs) have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential in inclusive settings, not in separate settings. Our English learners really do benefit from listening and partnering with good language models in the classroom. English speaking students benefit from learning about new cultures, customs and perspectives!
Recent guidance from the state reminds us of the support needed to meet two goals: attain English language proficiency and meet college- and career-readiness standards. Three full time licensed teachers of English learners regularly collaborate with general education teachers to monitor growth and performance with the goal of graduating English learners on time with peers. District supports are provided including funding (district funds and Title III federal grant funds), on-going professional
development and time for professional collaboration. We are proud of our recently developed high quality newcomer program with curriculum and resources aligned to the standards co-taught by EL teachers licensed in multiple areas.
English learners may have very limited speaking skills at first but over time, as social language and English proficiency skills grow, enrich our learning environments and become valued members of the classroom and our diverse learning community. To learn more about resources available to teachers and parents of English learners, please see below:
English Learner Took Kit US Dept of Education https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oela/english-learner-toolkit/index.html
Colorin Colorado http://www.colorincolorado.org/
Be sure to check out our monthly Home-School Connection Newsletter available in English and Spanish on the district home page. www.asrsd.org