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Alameda schools succeed with English learners

Submitted by on 1, February 22, 2011 – 12:02 am3 Comments

Alameda Unified is one of a handful of California school districts meeting testing targets for English language learners, school district officials are set to tell the Board of Education tonight. Only 12 percent of the state’s schools were able to meet the targets in 2009-2010, according to a new district report.

Some 78 percent of Alameda’s English language learners made the expected growth in their English skills last year, while 63 percent showed they were proficient in English and 19 percent showed the required progress on state English and math tests.

The district has used a number of strategies to meet the needs of English learners, including differentiated learning, elementary school resource teachers, sheltered classes for middle and high schoolers who are just learning English and math and other instructional coaches.

Nearly a quarter of the students in Alameda’s public schools are English language learners, and the district has seen its have more than twice the number of English language learners they served in 1995. Students in Alameda’s public schools speak 80 different languages.

Meanwhile, the district’s students continue to suffer from  measurable achievement, gap, with African American and Latino students lagging behind their white and Asian peers as early as kindergarten. Just 45 percent of the district’s African American students in grades 2-5 and 53 percent of Latino students in those grades showed English Language Arts proficiency on state tests, while 79 percent of Asian students and 84 percent of white students in those grades showed proficiency.

Students in all subgroups showed improvement in math scores over the past four years, though white and Asian students showed 30 percent higher proficiency rates that their African American and Latino peers. Meanwhile, the district’s second through fifth graders showed declines in physical fitness between 2008 and 2010.

The staff report to be presented to the board tonight didn’t say why the gaps exist, though it said the district is developing assessments that they hope will help improve instruction and test scores.

The Board of Education’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. today in the council chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.


  • Jen Laird says:

    Great to hear that AUSD is in the top 12% statewide in meeting achievement targets for English Learner students! I am not surprised, but great to have the empirical evidence.

    As a weekly classroom volunteer, I am continually amazed at the dedication of our teachers to meet the needs of each child. With increased class sizes this year, and many split gradelevel classrooms because of this (both of my children are in classrooms with 2 gradelevels) this has become more difficult. It will become even more difficult if Measure A does not pass and class sizes increase even more. All students will be affected: English Learners, students with disabilities, high achieving students, students currently at the middle of the pack.

    My head spins at what teachers have to do to serve all their students in this current environment. I leave each volunteering session with a headache and a tremendous amount of gratitude for our district and our teachers.

  • C Walsh says:

    REFORM public education now. If these statistics don’t support some discussion of education reform what will? ONLY 12% of our schools meet achievement standards statewide. Who in their right mind would support and finance this kind of failing system?

  • John says:

    Only 12 percent of the state’s school were able to meet the targets in 2009-2010, according to a new district report.

    How high did we rank in asking for Money from the Taxpayers footing this failure?

    How high did we rank in teachers and Teacher Unions trying to pass a parcel tax because the Administration can’t do simple math and balance a Budget that’s horribly mismanaged with Bloated Salaries Pensions and Benefits which in no way benefits the Students except they steal their money.

    Why is Everyone so afraid to Face reality of a Broke Broken System .

    Nothing will happen til we do………That’s what Vote Yes on Prop A is hoping for……..The Taxpayer will bury their head in sand for another 3 years and we will keep sucking their cash dry and keep making excuses that its someone else’s fault. The System is Broke….City…County…State…AUSD…Get a clue.

    Give the 200 most excited about the Parcel Tax a Bill for $85,000 and we wont even need to vote.Then the Schools can sit by mailbox and the checks should start flying in.

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