Schools boost engagement with ELL classes for parents
(Calif.) English language courses for parents have become more popular as districts report increased family engagement among Spanish-speaking households. Advocates for English learners say the trend is likely to improve student outcomes too.
Escalon Unified School District, located in San Joaquin County, included providing English as a second language courses to parents on their 2014-15 Local Control Accountability Plans as a way to help them become more involved in their children’s’ educations. Administrators found the courses were so successful that they included additional supplemental funding in their following two LCAPS and now offer more advanced classes as well.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea because it makes parents more comfortable and confident when going to the school, and it gives them some language skills to be able to look at what the students are bringing home and help them with homework–especially in lower grades,” Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, executive director of the English learner advocacy organization Californians Together, said in an interview. “And those parents who stick with it for a few years can help their students thrive in their own acquisition of English by practicing it with them.”
Nearly a quarter of the students in public schools across the state are English Learners, 85 percent of whom are Spanish-speakers, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Often times, these students are far behind their peers academically, and score substantially lower on statewide tests.
On the 2016 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress exams, only 13 percent of English learners met or exceeded grade-level standards in English language arts, and only 12 percent did so in math–compared to 56 percent of those fluent in the language who met or exceeded language arts standards and 43 percent who met or exceed standards in math.
The Local Control Funding Formula was ushered in nearly 3 years ago by legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown in an effort to expand educational services to low-income students, English learners and foster youth through targeted spending.
In Escalon Unified, schools used funds to transition from traditional English for Spanish-speaker classes taught by non-credentialed bilingual instructors to immersion style courses that, in order to Schools boost engagement with ELL classes for parents :: SI&A Cabinet Report :: The Essential Resource for Superintendents and the Cabinet: