Fair Aims to Attract Interest in Chinese Language School
Organizers of a recent Chinese language and education fair in Eugene, OR hoped to share with the broader community what they already know: The Chinese language is fun, the culture well worth celebrating. They also had a more specific aim: to drum up interest in a Mandarin Chinese immersion school. Nearly five months after the Eugene School Board gave district staff members the go-ahead to craft a proposal for such a school, boosters continue to work behind the scenes to promote the idea, dispel misperceptions and attract the attention of families whose preschoolers might be able to take advantage of the program.
Saint Martin's University student Max Mendez, 21, was inspired to attend college after working in a glass factory. On Wednesday, the history major encouraged high school students at the sixth annual Latino Youth Summit to follow the same path. The Latino Youth Summit is an annual career, lifestyle and college conference organized by the Hispanic Roundtable. This year's summit was about 10 times larger than the first one, which had 50 students and parents attending, Jose Diaz said. He is the president of the Hispanic Roundtable, a local group of professionals who organize the conference.
Maria Tomaine didn't want to be the only person in her home not to speak fluent English. Her husband, Paul, doesn't speak Tomaine's native Spanish, and her children's primary language is English as well. So Tomaine took advantage of a free program her children's school district offers because it believes parents who can speak English can more comfortably navigate the educational system and help their children with their homework.
About 10 percent of the 33,000 Rochester, NY, students are English language learners. Most of those are Spanish speakers, not refugees. Fewer than half of the non-English speakers are refugees — but the growing group speaks about 35 languages and more than 65 dialects, prompting a new program for English language learners.
Spanish-speaking members of Reedsburg, WI now have a place to go to help them get involved in local events and everyday ventures. Ruben Yanez-Diaz began reaching out in the community this summer and has impacted many of Reedsburg's Hispanic residents in meaningful ways ever since. Whether it has been to accompany someone to the hospital or to court, Yanez-Diaz has been more than willing to help anyone he can.
Oregon voters have rejected ballot Measure 58, proposing to limit how much time public school students can spend in English as a Second Language classes.
Utah schools are seeing more students — and more diversity — this year than last, according to Utah Office of Education enrollment data. Districts statewide are working to make sure they have programs in place to best serve increasingly diverse student bodies, especially Latino students. Latinos are Utah's largest minority group and make up about 14.4 percent of the state's public school students this year.
Inti Guaman is a senior on the brink of either going off to college or staying behind to get through high school. It all depends on how quickly he is able to soak up vocabulary words so that he can pass his High School Assessment exam in English II. Educators fear that a large number of English-language learners like Guaman, as well as a large population of special-education students, might be denied a diploma in June because they cannot pass the High School Assessments.
Igor Kovalchuk used to worry a lot about college. The junior at Minnesota's Shakopee High School moved to the United States from Ukraine when he was 9. Kovalchuk dreams of becoming a music producer, but neither of his parents has a college degree, and he used to believe a two-year program might be the best he could do after high school. Kovalchuk started feeling more confident after he landed in Language Enrichment for Academic Purposes (LEAP), a class in Shakopee that aims to reduce the number of bilingual students who drop out of high school or don't go to college.
School districts across the country are enrolling growing numbers of homeless children, as parents lose their jobs, leases, and mortgages in what many observers are calling the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many districts were already seeing a spike in homeless enrollments last spring, when the subprime-mortgage crisis began unfolding. But this fall's numbers are rising at an even faster clip as more families feel the fallout of a stumbling economy, said Barbara Duffield, the policy director for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, in Washington.