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Latino Community Forum meets with TPS officials

By Natalie Guzmán

On Monday, February 6, 2012, members of the Latino Community Forum (LCF) met with Toledo Public School Superintendent, Dr. Jerome Pecko, Director of English as a Second Language (ESL), Gayle Schaber, and TPS Hispanic Outreach Coordinator, José Luna.

The meeting was called as a follow up to the October 31st 2011 meeting in which Gayle Schaber committed to implementing proper communication to parents with Limited English Proficient (LEP) students and to disseminate policy, programming, and procedure information regarding LEP classes and enrollment. Mrs. Schaber implemented procedures to meet standards, and is taking community comments into consideration.

Mrs. Schaber explained that it was “difficult to say what LEP looks like,” every child that enters in TPS fills out a registration from and home language survey, and if it is answered in any other language than English it triggers Language Assessment Series (LAS) testing to see if the student is proficient in English.

The students are rated on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being proficient and 4 approaching proficient and 3-1 not proficient. If they test into approaching proficient and below they are considered English language Learners, and are typically enrolled into LEP classes. According to Mrs. Schaber there are 346 English Language Learners in TPS. Approximately 75 percent identify as Hispanic/Latino, which translates roughly to 130 students.

Once identified as English language learner notifications are sent to students homes with a letter explaining the English as second language ESL program. Mrs. Schaber works with Mr. Luna to help contact parents. Mrs. Schaber states that as much as possible she sends notifications within the first 30 days as per the Title III Funding. The reality is that parents do not receive these letters in a timely manner, which is why the Latino Community Forum commenced their meeting with the director of ESL.

Parents can choose not to have their child in ESL class; however, if there is no response then the student is automatically placed in the program. Some of the reasons why parents choose not to place a child in ESL are stigmatization from the older program when the students were taken out of school to go to ESL classes. The parents felt that is was detrimental to their children’s education, especially their math skills. Also the parents maybe apprehensive because of the citizenship status question; Mrs. Schaber stated that “parents do not have to answer certain questions” on the registration form.

Latino Community Forum suggested that Mrs. Schaber create an LEP sample folder: a blank folder that will contain a check list of notifications made, test s and grade sheets as well as assessments. The members feel that a LEP sample folder would help all employees involved know what is required for the Title III funding.  Latino Community Forum members also recommended to document when trying to notify parents.

As a result of these meetings, Mrs. Schaber created a “frequently asked questions” document in Spanish and English that would help answer some of the parents’ questions regarding ESL.

Mrs. Schaber and members of the Latino Community Forum discussed an ESL community meeting in the middle of March. The meeting will be held at Walbridge Elementary School which has the largest K-8 English Language Learners program.  The meeting will consist of suggestions on how parents can help students achieve academically. Also parents will receive recommendations and information on the OAA testing, to help prepare students. TPS Spanish and ESL teachers will be translating the event such as the question and answer period as well as the ESL lesson examples.

On the Internet: https://laprensatoledo.com/Stories/2011/112511/ramonperez.htm

Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/21/12 21:12:04 -0800.





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