Teachers discuss English program

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


The Language Instruction Educational Program formerly known as the English Language Learners program in the Washington Community School District discussed what structure of their program at each of the schools to the school board last week during the meeting.

There are three teachers who work directly with students in the district. They focus on language skills with the students.

Brandi Kaufman is at Stewart. She works with 44 students in first and second grade and one student is being monitored.

?At Stewart the vast majority [of students] is pulled out [of class],? Kauffman said. ?There?s a few students that I push into the classroom because it just fits what they need the most so I push some writing for them. For my first-and second-graders they work on vocabulary and kindergartners this time of the year they?re still working on some letter identification and letter sounds. ?

Heather Brokaw teaches LIEP at Lincoln. She has 25 students on her full-time roster and three students being monitored.

?I spend 20 minutes every day with all of my kids and there are a couple of kids I see more,? Brokaw said. ?One student I spend about 80 minutes a day. He is a newcomer ? just here three weeks now.?

Brokaw works a lot on vocabulary with the students and works with their classroom teachers to tie it into what they?re learning in the classroom, she said. She is also a Title I teacher and works on tying what she teachers in LIEP to the Title I program.

Brokaw also offers support to teachers.

?When there are teachers that have questions about either LIEP students or non-LIEP students that are having issues in their content area, I try to support them and help them help the students more,? Brokaw said.

Heather Greiner is the LIEP teacher for the middle school and high school. She has 15 active students and five being monitored at the middle school, she said. At the high school she has 19 active students and one being monitored.

?I feel in the upper levels my job is really based on student help and teacher support in the classroom, especially with the newcomers that have limited English and helping teachers figure out alternative assessments and ideas for teaching those students and keeping them at grade level, but also helping them with their language acquisition,? Brokaw said.

She works a lot on academic vocabulary that the student may not have been exposed to before, such as frequency, she said.

?Words they may not have been experienced in their social language but need, to be able to be successful,? Brokaw added.

She is also working writing a good paragraph with the students, she said. How to focus on a main idea and form a conclusion.

?And then I also like to meet in small groups a lot just to get the individual needs and learn what the kids need to be successful in the classroom,? Brokaw said.

Board member Heidi Vittetoe asked Brokaw if the majority of the students she had were Spanish speakers. Brokaw said yes.

?What other languages do you have besides Spanish?? Vittetoe asked.

At the high school they have a student whose main language is Mandarin Chinese and several different dialects of Spanish, Brokaw replied.

At Lincoln there is a student from China and at Stewart there is a student from the Philiphines, but the rest of them speak Spanish.

Vittetoe asked the LIEP teachers if the students in the LIEP program needed help with their paragraph-writing skills because they didn?t do that in their native language.

?Some of them, the learners, come with literacy skills,? LIEP director Heather Lujano said.