Columbia School Board to Discuss English Language Learners Program
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public School Board is set to discuss updates to the English Language Learners Program Monday evening.
Beginning in the fall, English language learning students in kindergarten through eighth grade will be clustered into select Columbia Public School buildings. According to ELL Coordinator Sushama Nagarkar, the current system is lacking collaboration between ELL instructors and other teachers.
"The English language learners spend only a little bit of time with the ELL teacher. As part of their school day, they spend most of their time with other teachers," Nagarkar said.
Nearly 1,000 students are currently enrolled in Columbia's ELL program. They represent 47 different languages.
Nagarkar said because of a language barrier, these students do not excel like their English-speaking peers. According to Nagarkar, the problem is it is more difficult to teach them the academic language.
"The language that they need to be successful in school and beyond and that's the piece of it we struggle with because that doesn't comes as easily and that's where you need collaborative efforts to help support the students," Nagarkar said.
However, Nagarkar said clustering the students and providing a full-time ELL teacher will help them address the needs of English language learners.