In an effort to promote continuing education for North Lamar teachers and ensure quality equitable education for its growing population, English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) teachers that specifically work with students in the English as a Second Language program are studying for and taking the state certification test to become certified to teach English Language Learners.
"It is a smaller population of students that attend North Lamar schools, but a significant one,” said North Lamar ESL Coordinator Kortney Melton. “We now have over 100 students including those that are in the ESL program and those that have exited the ESL program but are still being monitored."
North Lamar ISD's English as a Second Language program has grown in numbers over recent years.
"Ten years ago, we had less than 30 students,” said Melton. “Now we have almost 70 that are in the program, plus additional students that are being monitored."
It is because of this growth and the wonderful amount of native languages that kids are bringing to North Lamar that Melton is able to award stipends for teachers that meet specific requirements. Additionally, the ESL budget will reimburse those teachers if they pass the ESL certification exam.
Continuing, Melton said, "It is a wonderful feeling to be able to promote cultural diversity. We have approximately ten different native languages in our district that students speak while at home in addition to English. If we can embrace the different ways to teach these specific students using best practices, then all students will benefit because English as a Second Language strategies are overall best practice strategies for any content area and any grade level."