English Language Learners and Dual Language Program annual update
During the October 19 school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith, Director of Equity and Dual Programs Dr. Julie Perron and Long-term English Learner Program Specialist Amy Kasenga shared an overview of the district's English Language Learners programs.
Since the school board voted in March 2017 to approve a recommendation from the Bilingual Education Recommendation Committee (BERC) to improve the program, several gains have been made. Students are scoring above the state average on English Language Proficiency Assessments, Dual Language program enrollment remains strong, Spanish is offered in middle school and the number of students earning their Seal of Biliteracy has doubled from a few years prior.
The BERC recommendations centered around increasing academic performance for non-English speaking students and program alignment related to curriculum and professional development. Currently the district serves 763 English Language Learners and approximately 1/3 are considered Long-term English Learners because they have not reached proficiency in English after receiving services for five or more years. Kasenga was hired to her new role this school year to put systems in place to help students who have stalled in their progress.
"These students are socially bilingual, but they are academically stagnant," said Kasenga.
Dr. Perron says the district is making this a focus area.
"We're really targeting those students who are still English Learners after so many years," said Dr. Perron. "Our plans are to increase their abilities in English by specifically designed instruction, more support and consistent monitoring."
WWPS Service Models
English Learning Development: Students not participating in dual immersion receive ELD support in small groups (dedicated) and within the classroom (integrated). This is available at all elementary schools, as well as middle and high school.
Two-Way Dual Immersion Programs: An approach that targets two language groups of students with two languages of instruction (Spanish and English). Kinder begins with 80% instruction in Spanish, and 20% instruction in English. This is the model in place at both Edison and Green Park.
Supportive Mainstream: An approach that monitors and supports EL students within the general education setting, with scaffolding as needed, small group instruction and teacher teaming.
Next steps for the program:
• Calibration of dual programs, K-5 with World Language Options.
▪ Expand middle school dual language.
▪ Continue to create equitable environments for all English learners.
▪ Provide after school tutoring opportunities
▪ Promote services to Migrant families
▪ Identify HS Long-term English Learners in the “supportive mainstream” who need ongoing intervention, utilizing one-on-one conferences and flex time group support.
▪ Promote/expand Seal of Biliteracy.
PHOTO: Dr. Julie Perron, Director of Equity and Dual Language Programs encourages parents and students to call the department's hotline for information about the program and support: (509) 526-6787.