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Chat about the Lawrence school district's ESL program

May 23, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Bruce Passman, deputy superintendent and Kim Young, special program specialist will be in the NewsCenter Wednesday, May 23rd at 11:00 a.m. to discuss the district's expanding and changing ESL program.

Moderator:

Hi. This is 6News Director Cody Howard. I'll be moderating today's chat with Deputy Superintendent Bruce Passman and Federal Programs and International Student Specialist Kim Young. Our thanks to them for joining us for today's discussion of the Lawrence School District's ESL program.

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

Thanks for having us.

Moderator:

For starters, please provide some background on the ESL program and bring us up to date on how the expansion is working at Sunflower and Schwegler.

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

The growth of the English Language Learners population has more than doubled in the past 5 years. We anticipate the growth trend will continue. Our plans to bring on Schwegler and Sunflower will assist the district with meeting the growth demands. Like any new program in a school, there are challenges, however, Sunflower and Schwegler are working with district and university staff to find a plan that will meet their needs.

oscarfactor:

Is there an estimate yet on how much Hillcrest's student population will be reduced - if it will be reduced - in the 2007-2008 school year now that other schools' ESL programs are gaining momentum/coming on line? It sure would be nice if we could remove a couple of those portables at Hillcrest next school year.

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

Hillcrest population will continue to decrease for 2007-08 as a result of the Cordley program. The impact of Sunflower and Schwegler opening will not occur until 2008-09. This delay will allow the Schwegler and Sunflower teachers time to prepare for the students.

ksbeast:

Did the district make any mistakes in implementing the expansion of the ESL program? If so, what were they and how can the district avoid repeating them with future expansions?

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

The board and administration took many of the right steps. If something could have been different, the planning process may have been initiated earlier. This would have allowed the teachers, principals, and community earlier opportunities to participate in the planning process.

Moderator:

Please remind our readers on why Sunflower and Schwegler were chosen for the expanded ESL sites.

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

The demographics of the district including growth trends for non English speakers made it clear that these two schools boundary areas would continue to expand and need their own English Language Learner programs. As a matter of fact, these buildings currently have a significant population transferred to Hillcrest for English Language Learner program.

Moderator:

Please talk about the amount of training required for teachers to be prepared to take on an ESL program -- and how the district plans to handle it.

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

Teachers will be required to complete their English as a Second Language endorsement. The endorsement requires 15 graduate hours, which can be completed over a five year period. In addition, the teachers will receive 12 hours of Sheltered Instruction professional development.

Moderator:

What is Sheltered Instruction?

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

Sheltered Instruction is the research based teaching model that the district has selected. Sheltered Instruction is not only beneficial for English Language Learners, but for all children.

Moderator:

When the school board discussed the issue in April, talks focused on 18 hours of instruction, not 15. What has changed since then?

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

In the original discussion with the University of Kansas, their program required 18 graduate hours for the endorsement. Through discussions and planning with K.U., the graduate hour requirement has been reduced to 15 hours. We are pleased with K.U.'s support of our program and willingness to co -plan the coursework and professional development for the district.

momx2:

How much additonal training will teachers and staff need? In Schweglers case, how will classrooms look as far as staffing and kids moving in and out through the day once it is an ESL and Title 1 school.

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

It is difficult to answer at this time. As students are transitioned back into their neighborhood school, plans for their instruction will be based on the individual needs by the teachers and support staff at the school. We believe that one of the benefits for Schwegler and other schools is the diversity and richness of the educational experience.

Moderator:

When does the district plan to have the Schwegler and Sunflower ESL sites up and running?

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

Training will begin in 2007-2008. Students will begin transitioning to Schwegler and Sunflower in the 2008-09 school year.

Moderator:

Aside from training for the staff, will the facilities need any upgrades to implement the program.

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

Principals annually review their facility and program resources. While there will be no changes for 2007-08 based on the ESL program, the principal will review needs for facilities utilization in the spring of '08. We do not anticipate any structural changes at Sunflower or Schwegler in order to accommodate the implementation of the ESL program.

Moderator:

How many teachers will need the additional training?

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

We have estimated that 45-55 will begin training in the 2007-08 school year.

Moderator:

What are the projections for ESL student enrollment over the next two years?

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

Over the next five years, we are projected to grow 561 students to 926 students. This is based on the report provided to the board of education to study the district's demographics. The increase is based on the K-12 population.

Moderator:

How are the teachers handling these new challenges?

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

While the district faces new challenges designing and implementing programs, we recognize that the success of any program is directly related to the quality of the teaching staff. The English Language Learner students who will be attending Sunflower and Schwegler will benefit from a very fine, caring and competent staff.

Moderator:

Our thanks to Bruce Passman and Kim Young for joining us for today's chat.

Bruce Passman and Kim Young:

Thank you for having us.

Comments

multiagelearner 7 years, 5 months ago

Wow! Tough questions, did they write them before they came? Where are all the presubmitted questions?

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