Students Speaking English as a Second Language Rise

3 years 8 months 2 days ago Tuesday, April 15 2014 Apr 15, 2014 Tuesday, April 15, 2014 9:40:00 PM CDT April 15, 2014 in News
By: Paige Travis, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools implemented a new cluster program this school year to better serve a group of more than 900 CPS students who speak English as a second language.

Twenty-two English Language Learners or ELL teachers serve a growing population of students representing 60 different languages daily. Teachers assist ELL students at eight elementary schools, three middle schools and all four high schools as part of a new initiative to better serve the growing amount of students who identify English as a second language.

About 100 CPS students are learning English for the first time with just more than 200 students on monitor status, but CPS staff members say the numbers are growing. In March of this year, 287 Spanish-speaking students enrolled in Columbia public schools, followed by 110 Arabic speakers and 104 Korean speakers, representing the three largest groups. According to a recent program evaluation, 554 ELL students were enrolled in CPS schools in 2005. Today, that number has increased by 68 percent to 936 as of March 2014.

In past years, ELL teachers traveled to various Columbia public schools to serve students in the English Language Learners program. This school year, ELL teachers were placed at designated schools or select cluster schools to better serve their students. The new system allows for more collaboration between the ELL teachers and classroom teachers.

Columbia Public Schools coordinator Shelly Fair said the cluster program allows ELL teachers to become immersed in the school culture. She also said as the number of ELL students enrolled in CPS increases, staff members must learn to optimize on the resources provided.

"It is a challenge because we have to find a way with the staff and resources that we have to offer the same services to all of those ELL students who are coming into our system," said Fair.

Fair said CPS encourages classroom teachers at cluster schools who are not ELL certified to adjust their approach of teaching course curriculum to better meet the needs of students who do not speak English as their native language.

Kasey Laughlin is one of two ELL teachers responsible for 97 English learners at Blue Ridge Elementary where 24 countries are represented. She said it is a challenge to help classroom teachers and other students understand how the beliefs and customs of some ELL students may affect their learning. She also acknowledged how her role as an ELL teacher creates a safe haven for students to learn at more moderate pace.

"They feel more comfortable and they feel safe and sometimes being in that smaller group will help them branch out and feel more confident and safe. Then they can take that back to their classroom," said Laughlin.

The government requires any school district receiving federal money to have an ELL program in place. If a student is identified as a potential English learner the school must test that student to provide the necessary resources to succeed academically.

When a new student enrolls in a Columbia public school and either identifies English as his or her second language or as a language that is not spoken at home that student is required to undergo ELL screening. When test results show students need ELL services and parents comply, students are then transferred to a cluster school and provided bus services.

Fair said she acknowledges how adjusting to a new school and academic system can be difficult for some families.

"It is a very scary thing to send your child to school, especially in a culture that is different then yours, language that is different than yours. That is a very frightening situation where they can feel vulnerable, so my goal is to make them feel as comfortable as possible," said Fair.

Aurelia Cortes moved her son to Derby Ridge Elementary School from Parkade Elementary School for the ELL cluster program. She said her son didn't want to relocate to Derby and was nervous about the transition but has seen an improvement in his grades.

"Well since he's been coming to school he's getting only checks and pluses. I was worried about him being out of the classroom for a certain time to be in this class and he would be failing not doing good in areas but he's doing good," said Cortes.

Cortes also said after doing research on the program, the ELL service offered to CPS students was the best fit for her son.

"I want him to keep succeeding at school and I think this will help. I read that some students who do not get this program can have problems later on in middle school or high school and I don't want this to happen to him," said Cortes.

CPS hires interpreters to close the language barrier gap between teachers and parents. Shelly Fair said as the cluster program continues to grow CPS would like to provide more resources to the cluster schools and professional development for classroom teachers as well.

Shelly Fair said she recognizes the challenges ELL students face when they come to Columbia but wants the ELL staff to stay proactive in its approach to teaching and helping the student they serve.

"I think that as far as the achievement gap with English learners, it's very real and it's very large and it's very true and they face twice as much as the student sitting next to them who is not an English learner because they are learning the content and the language at the same time. And most of them are doing it quite remarkably," said Fair.

Fair said the ELL program is seeking to set up a program that will allow volunteers to help engage with the large amount of students in need of ELL services next school year.

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA (AP) — Police say they have arrested a man charged in an August quadruple homicide that occurred in... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 11:15:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - A two-vehicle car wreck Saturday left one dead and two others injured, according to the Missouri State... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:15:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - An event in Columbia today addressed the prevalence of gun violence and misuse of firearms by offering gift... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:04:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – A six-year-old held a hot chocolate stand Saturday outside of a Hy-Vee in Jefferson City to help two... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 6:51:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Wyss Medical Foundation donated $2 million to the Missouri Orthapaedic Institute for the work of lead orthopaedic... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 5:05:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - On Friday, the Columbia Police Department inducted eight new recruits, the largest class of officers in years. ... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 4:03:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
JACKSONVILLE - An estimated 400 people attended a wreath laying ceremony Saturday at the Jacksonville State Veterans Cemetery. It... More >>
14 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 3:31:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Graduation day is long awaited by many and Amy Kiso Bledsoe is no exception. Bledsoe was... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 2:47:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — As Missouri struggles with the epidemic of opioid abuse, no place in the state has been... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 1:10:14 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A furnace malfunction caused a fire in a trailer home on Pratherville Road Saturday morning. Gale... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 12:05:48 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — People returning to Kansas City after being released from prison will get a 90-day supply... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 11:25:12 AM CST December 16, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Firefighters responded to a shed fire off of Highway 40 near Rocheport Saturday morning. Boone County... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 10:04:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials with the University of Missouri-Kansas City say students will soon have access to state-of-the-art... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:16:45 AM CST December 16, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Cat cafes have popped up across the world in cities including New York City, London and Tokyo, and... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 7:36:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Some Jefferson City kids are getting the chance at a Merry Christmas this year with the help... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 12:00:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Highway Patrol has confirmed it has fired Trooper Anthony Piercy. KOMU 8 spoke to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:42:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - St. Louis officers arrested a suspect that was on the run in a duplex on Sears Court in... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:29:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The application for the top education position in the state, Missouri State Education Board Commissioner, opened Friday leaving... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:02:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 44°
7am 44°
8am 43°
9am 43°
10am 45°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00a
Open House
6:30a
Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford
7:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
6:00a
Peter Popoff Miracle Ministry
6:30a
Paid Program
7:00a
Tomorrow's World

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football
7:00p
The Christmas Bunny
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Family Guy