Alameda schools succeed with English learners
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.