Students whose first language is not English may require another journey when they enroll in Delaware schools, but district leaders say the process helps students and their families acclimate as quickly as possible.
|Scooped by Caroline Staffa|
This article shares one school district's approach to working with ELL students, and I think it is a really effective, sensitive and fair process. The school district is in Delaware. I chose to curate this article because with all the different viewpoints of how TESOL should be handled, this is a great example of a school district that has implemented an effective strategy, which I believe other schools could learn from. When a new student enrolls they fill out a survey so the school will know what language is spoken at home. If it is a different language from English, the parents have the option to test their child to see if they need specialized ESOL classes. If they take an assessment on reading, writing, listening and speaking to determine if there any language gaps that will affect their ability to perform on grade level. If there are, then with parent approval, the student will enroll in ESOL classes. There are then various levels of English instruction for the student. In order to involve parents, they have the Woodward Family Resource Center where there are interpreters for families and staff. They have a Language Line service and interpreters can be present at all parent conferences. The school librarians have bilingual books. The ESL specialist said, "Every effort is made to help the students and families feel comfortable at their new school," Diemer said. "If students need additional help, they are sometimes referred to the extended learning opportunities offered at the various schools."
I am so amazed at their ESOL program. It seems to incorporate all of the very important aspects discussed by some of the other curated content. In terms of the importance of parent involvement, they have an excellent strategy set up to communicate with parents regularly, and they even have interpreters as a resource that is readily available. This system seems like it very accommodating to students because they are not put in any ESOL class unless the assessment proves they need it and their parents approve. I like the aspect of this program that the family makes the decisions. This system seems very functional and effective; however, can all school systems afford the same resources they have? Do all schools have the ability to contact parents and ask for permission to place them in ESOL classes? My coordinating teacher at my field placement said she first worked at an inner city school in Philadelphia where reaching parents was nearly impossible, and a lot of the numbers they provided had been disconnected, or the parents just never called back. When working in a school district such as that, is this system really plausible? Again, I chose this article because I think it demonstrates one of the more ideal systems for teaching ELL students, but my reaction was just that it is probably not realistic for all school districts. In addition, the funding for interpreters of all the different languages found in a school district is probably very expensive. Also, according to Dylan Garity, his sister is not able to read books in students' native language so it is possible that in some states, the bilingual books in the library would not be possible.