Most Participants in District 205 English Language Learners Forum said Program Deserves More Support
Data and feedback garnered in Monday forum will be used to focus and improve the ELL program going forward.
About 70 participants—a mixture of teachers, teacher assistants, parents, administrators and members of the District 205 School Board—attended a forum Feb. 25 that analyzed Elmhurst Unit District 205's English Language Learners program.
The program was examined from all sides, and the district will use the information gleaned from this meeting to focus and make more effective the ELL program, which has grown a great deal since its inception in 2007. That growth, in addition to state mandates for ELL, have begun to strain the program and the overall resources of the district, board members have said.
Electronic SMART Responders were distributed so that the audience could vote on the following questions anonymously. Of the 70 participants, 48 people responded:
|Question||Yes||Percent Responding Yes||No||Percent Responding No||No Answer|
|Does Elmhurst District 205 currently provide an adequate description of the ELL program?||12||25 %||36||75%||0|
|Should Elmhurst CUSD explore additive/enriched vs. remedial programs for ELLS?||47||97%||1||3%||0|
|Should general education students have an opportunity to become bilingual and biliterate?||44||91%||3||8%||1|
|Do you support ELL Programs that are cost-effective and have long-term goals that benefit students?
|Do you believe that the district should form programs that yield maximum achievement for all students?||45||95%||2||
|Do you support ELL programs that have proven to raise achievement on standardized tests in English?
The following data and ideas was shared by participants:
From Students and Staff
- Students say the transition to the U. S. can be difficult both academically and socially, even if they studied English in their countries.
- Students rely upon teacher support offered in ESL, resource and content classes.
- Staff feels that Elmhurst 205 would benefit from a long-term vision for the ELL program.
- Teachers are stretched when they receive ELL students with no English and inconsistent prior schooling—currently 14 "Newcomer Students" at Churchville and York.
Highlights from Panelists from Other Districts
- Both St. Charles District 303 and Woodstock Unit District 200 offer additive programs. St. Charles offers Transitional Bilingual Education services through grade 5 and is planning for middle school. Woodstock offers dual language instruction from pre-kindergarten through grade 9.
- Programs were formed based on best practice and research in ELL education.
- Results from District 200 show that former English Language Learners and general education students participating in two-way immersion dual-language classes outperform their peers on ISAT, even when instructed in Spanish.
- Strategic recruitment can make these programs cost effective and may even reduce overall cost in terms of staffing. Extra materials are needed. Transportation to service centers was part of each district’s plan.
- Teachers and administrators need to be informed of the benefits of additive programs and must be supportive.
Data from Elmhurst District 205
- ELL enrollment has been increasing since 2007. The active ELLs are at 4.9 percent of the total enrollment. We currently have ELLs in each of our schools.
- Transitioned ELL students are performing below their general education peers.
- Percentage of ELL students with an IEP is higher than general education peers.
- Percentage of ELLs participating in Reach or accelerated programs is low; Ells make up 1.3 percent of Reach math enrollment.
- Average ACT score for transitioned ELLs is much lower than general education peers: ELL range is 15.2 to 17.5 (which would qualify them for entrance to community college with remedial courses), while general education range is 23.8 to 24.2 (entrance to any Illinois Public University).
Source: Elmhurst Unit District 205