Nearly Half of CCSD's Students are in English Language Learner P - 8 News NOW

Nearly Half of CCSD's Students are in English Language Learner Program

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LAS VEGAS -- The success of Clark County schools -- in many ways -- hinges on the ELL or English Language Learner Program which helps 119,000 students learn to speak, read and write in English. 

In his State of the District address, Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight Jones said English as a second language is one of the biggest challenges the district faces.

Some educators want the state to consider testing students in their native language. Nevada is one of four states that does not set aside a funding source for ELL students. Because CCSD is so diverse, the program's director, believes the district must make changes.

 "We're looking at having the pieces all fall in together to see if the state department would consider allowing our ELL students, at some point, in the beginning to test in the native language," ELL Director Dr. Norberta Anderson said.

Anderson says the program has suffered huge cuts on the state and federal level and they're bracing for another cut in federal dollars in the upcoming school year. As a result, CCSD lost its two English Language Learning specialists.

Besides funding, Anderson says, the other huge obstacle facing the program is parental involvement. In many cases, she says parents are from war torn countries and living in poverty which keeps them from becoming more involved. She says, when a parent is involved in their child's education, it makes a big difference.

"My dad always asks me 'what do I do at school?" Destiny Cain is an 11-year-old honor student at Hollingsworth Elementary School. Both her parents take an active role with the school's parent center.

The ELL Program recently combined literacy and professional development forces to get more parents involved. It allows all CCSD departments to share information with the ELL Program to better help the students.


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