Education

Community Provides Input on Proposed Multilingual Learners Program in West Orange

dc8ecfa84d4c6b5b66c1_WP_20180604_20_17_11_Pro.jpg
Eveny de Mendez, assistant superintendent, and Felix Plata, world languages supervisor, updated the board on community feedback on the proposed new program for ELL students. Credits: Alan Grossman
dc8ecfa84d4c6b5b66c1_WP_20180604_20_17_11_Pro.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ — After an initial presentation of the “Preparing Multilingual Learners for Global Competence” program stirred controversy at the May 21 West Orange Board of Education (WOBOE) meeting, board members requested that assistant superintendent Eveny de Mendez get further input from teachers and parents. Mendez and world languages supervisor Felix Plata returned to the board on Monday with an update as well as feedback regarding the plan to consolidate services in three schools.

During the initial presentation, it was expressed that strengthening the English Language Learners program (ELL) in the district has become a major priority since more than 1500 West Orange Public School students live in homes where languages other than English are spoken. The vote on the proposed five-year plan, which would consolidate services for ELL students in the elementary schools, was postponed until the board could hear more feedback from parents and community members.

Mendez said that even after hearing some of the concerns of community members, she still felt that board should consolidate the services at Washington, Gregory and Kelly Elementary Schools in order to ensure that students graduate with an ability to succeed in academic English as well as their native languages. She added that strengthening students’ skills in their native language is critical to transferring language skills when they learn English.

Sign Up for E-News

Mendez and Plata met with teachers at both Washington and Gregory Elementary Schools, as well as with parents at a meeting of the West Orange Hispanic Foundation. According to Mendez, the main concern among teachers was professional development in order to ensure that they have the skills to make the program successful.

In addition, 42 percent of the teachers surveyed said they would volunteer to be the ELL teacher in the new program, Mendez said.

“Removing students from neighborhood schools, and separating them from friends was a concern that was shared with us,” said Mendez. “We share those concerns, but still feel the tradeoff is worth it because the ELL students and their parents will form their own supportive community.”

She also said the parents at the West Orange Hispanic Foundation meeting supported the new program “overwhelmingly.” Parents also liked the fact that ELL students would spend a minimum of 90 minutes together each day to improve their language skills. According to Mendez, the current program, which is scattered across all of the elementary schools, often only gives students 30-to-45 minutes of ELL instruction per day.

Additionally, Mendez said that because the ELL graduation rate is currently only 73.1 percent, and only 23 percent of ELL students are graduating with grade-level proficiency in English, parents expressed their willingness to give the new program a try.

“We need to ELL students both in English and their content classes,” said Mendez. “They fall behind in science and math because they have to improve their English language skills.”

According to Mendez, another concern expressed at the Gregory Elementary School meeting was that the fifth-grade class would need to return to the trailers for class if this program is brought to the school.

WOBOE member Sandra Mordecai expressed her concern about moving students back into the Gregory trailers, stating that a commitment was made to do everything possible to move students out of them.

Mendez and Platt agreed to continue their discussions with the community and report back to the WOBOE at its next meeting on June 18. 

Don’t miss important news in your town. Click HERE to subscribe for free, or follow us on Facebook and on Twitter at @WestOrangeTAP.

To download the FREE TAPinto App, Click here for Android or Click here for iOS.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Free Class at CylcleBar Livingston to Support Sustainability

June 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Join us at CycleBar Livingston for Uplift Humanity's first charity event! In addition to getting your sweat on for FREE, you can learn about about how we are using a sustainability-first approach to solve poverty in developing countries around the world. Meet our Board and Founder and get information on volunteer opportunities.

We've partnered with ...

Deegan Dental Implant Special!

WEST ORANGE, NJ - OUR NEW DENTAL IMPLANT SPECIAL OFFER WILL GIVE YOU REASON TO SMILE!

Deegan Dental is happy to announce our New Dental Implant Special Offer that will give you a reason to smile! Our New Special Offer, that expires 11/30/2018, covers a single Complete Tooth Replacement (including the Implant, Stock Abutment and E-max Crown) for only $2,200 per Implant; a Great Value ...

Former Jefferson School (Maplewood) Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 22, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_5e177eaae57739064cd4_397f63ad2fb50392a776_29178074_2107642336134787_2638697507160326144_n

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Totowa

MakerFest 2018

Tue, June 26, 8:15 AM

Whole Foods market, West Orange

JBN Presents: Women's Networking in West Orange

Business & Finance

Wed, June 27, 11:00 AM

United Way of Northern New Jersey, Montclair

Volunteer Advocate Info Session

Giving Back Law & Justice

Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation Donates New Scoreboard to the West Orange PAL Baseball Field

On Sunday, April 15, the West Orange PAL baseball teams began their opening ceremonies of the spring season with a heartfelt dedication of a new scoreboard, donated by the Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation.  The foundation was created to honor the life of Michael, a lifelong West Orange resident, who tragically died in a car accident on the day after his 19th birthday, Aug.

Mt. Olive Memorial Weekend Tournament: Bringing Baseball Back to West Orange!

“I’ve got to find the right spot”

“Two out rally!”

“Protect the ball”

“You fired up? I’m fired up! I can’t hear you!”

“Breathe!” “Deep breath, reset”

“Whoa..where are you going?? You can’t move”

Just a few of the statements you may have heard this past weekend at the ...

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Schedules Family Nights and Zoo-vies This Summer

June 21, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Essex County Turtle Back Zoo will have Family Nights with extended evening hours to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the months of July and August, with the last admission to the zoo at 8 p.m.

In addition, on Wednesday evenings during July and August, Zoo-vies, featuring animal-related movies, will be shown on the top floor of the Turtle Back Zoo Parking ...

My So-Called Graduation

The last of my children graduated from high school.  

 

My son and daughter threw their caps high into the air and cheered their liberation from one symbolic institution before contemplating their matriculation into other, much larger institutions significantly further away.  

 

Or at least far enough away that they won’t be needing rides home from ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...