Shadowing an English Langauge Learner in HS

Christian will graduate, having struggled through middle and high school as a recent immigrant, but now what?

Photo of Norka Padilla
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[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

English language learners graduate at a higher rate than other students when they meet English proficiency standards. English language learners are an asset to high school graduation rates.

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Photo of Donna Teuber

Hi Norka, Thank you so much for this thoughtful post. I've been wondering about graduation data and achievement data for our ELL students. Your data is useful in identifying the areas for focus. Your shadowing experiences shows that students who have many strikes against them can be successful with support from their teachers. I completed an interview yesterday with the Hispanic family liaison in our district. He indicated that the journey to college becomes very difficult if a student is undocumented. Public colleges require documentation so many of his students have to look at private school options where the tuition is expensive. Many of the students have family members back in the home country who are depending on them to work and contribute. This is a big dilemma for these students who want to go to college but must provide for their families. 

Photo of Norka Padilla

It takes the whole community to support all of our citizens. Thank you for sharing about opportunities in private colleges who tend to have money and value diversifying. Our local community college just cut off access to anyone who hasn't been a resident for the last three years- so you know who that leaves out, whether they have documentation or not. Our local county public school system does NOT offer free adult education, so we have an influx of older students enrolling in high school to meet court system requirements for immigration. Principals don't want older students who won't graduate but are required to take them. You can imagine the resentment and negativity.  I am working hard to use data to show school leaders that explicit and rigorous language instruction is vital for all students to meet Common Core State Standards and ESSENTIAL for English language learners.  WE need more opportunities for all students. Not everyone has to go to college directly after high school. But the high school diploma is essential.  Once we ensure higher graduation rates for all students, we can be clever and flexible about offering multiple pathways to careers and college. I so appreciate your post.

Photo of Charles Shryock, IV

This discussion has been invaluable for me, as I seek to understand the issues at play.  

Side note, Norka, I didn't realize the local community college has closed off access... that is astounding, given county demographics and the tremendous need. 

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