English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC)
Contact: Nikki Cox [email protected]
You're five years old. At five you're quite competent in the use of English with other kids. You may still have much to learn, but basically, you understand what people say to you and you can communicate with others.
For a while now your parents have been talking about the fact that you have to learn to read and write, and that soon, you'll be going to school. You're a little afraid and very excited. On the first day of school, your mother makes sure that you've wearing a nice outfit. You have a backpack filled with blank notebooks, pencils, and crayons. You know that those are the implements you will be using to learn how to read and write. As you walk into the classroom the teacher begins to give instructions to the class. She calls out the children's names but she can't pronounce yours. The other children seem to know what's going on. They all know what to do, except for you. Are they laughing at you? Tears roll down your cheeks.
Suddenly, you realize that learning is going to be much more difficult than you ever imagined.
Did you know?:
- English language learners represent the fastest growing segment of the school-age population (National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, 2002)
- Projections suggest that "language minority students" (those who speak a language other than English at home and who have varying levels of proficiency in English) will comprise over 40 percent of elementary and secondary students by 2030 (Thomas & Collier, 2001)
- Though we tend to think of immigrants settling in primarily urban areas, large numbers of recently arrived families live in rural and suburban communities
- In Castro Valley alone, there are more than forty languages represented in our public school classrooms.
- Some of the most common languages spoken by students in these classrooms include Cantonese, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian.
- While the speakers of these languages may be all ages, come from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, from different economic situations, and may have come to this country for a variety of reasons, they all have in common the desire to learn English.
To ensure we're meeting the needs of all our students, we must pay special attention to this population of students. If you would like to help us with this task, please contact [email protected] for more information about our school based ELAC or district based DELAC.
Click here for more information about the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC)