The EL & Compensatory Education Department is committed to meeting the needs of all English Learners (ELs) across the district. This commitment extends to supporting any student who struggles with language as a large body of research supports the view that language learning is influenced by many aspects of human experience and capability, including economic background.
Dearborn Public Schools has enrolled over 600 English Learners since June 16, 2016. This includes over 500 immigrants of which 100 are refugees. These numbers continue to significantly increase. In addition, 73% of our district population is on free/reduced lunch which is determined based on a household’s annual income.
To meet student needs, we currently have nineteen bilingual resource teachers at the elementary level, seven at the middle school level and three at the high school level.
The new federal bill titled “Every Student Succeeds Act,” abbreviated in the summary as ESSA, requires that the first four components of the accountability system (achievement, growth, graduation/attendance and EL progress) carry substantial weight over the fifth measure (school success).
In order to meet the demand, the responsibilities of current bilingual resource teachers were revised to include expectations and roles aligned to ESSA. The bilingual resource teacher position was retitled to English Language Development (ELD) Specialist. The change in name is necessary since the focus and target of the ELD Specialists will be aligned with ESSA and Federal guidelines. The teachers possess the expertise and knowledge of the EL dynamics, second language acquisition, ELD standards, and CCSS. The teachers also carry the expertise to support newcomer students using Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) with the integration of the four domains (speaking, listening, reading and writing). The expectations are also transitioning from push-in (small group) support for English Learners to co-teaching in core content areas.
The ELD Specialists are part of the building leadership team that provides professional development and works to bridge the achievement gap. In addition to working directly with our non-English speaking population of students and being an active member of the building support team, ELD Specialists are assigned to buildings to support teachers in planning and delivering instruction that accelerates English Language Development.
With the increase in student population, the district was able to provide additional ELD Specialist positions for a number of elementary and secondary schools where the need was justified based on the numbers of newly enrolled English Learners.
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