The Carroll County school district’s English to Speakers of Other Languages program has grown to 427 students. The program is designed to get students, who have moved from other typically-non-English speaking countries, acclimated to the US.
Students in the district come from a variety of regions including: Mexico, Honduras, India, Venezuela, Brazil, Puerto Rico, China, and Africa. The Villa Rica cluster recently accepted a student whose family are political refugees from Syria.
“When a student or any child enrolls in a public school in the United States, they have to fill out a form called the home language survey. That’s a way to keep from discriminating against students. This home language survey has three questions. What language did they first learn? What language do they speak at home? And what do they speak most often? If they put anything other than English or in addition to English, we have to, by federal law, test them for ESOL services,” said Erin Ortiz, the lead ESOL teacher for the Carroll County School District.
She updated the Carroll County Board of Education on the ESOL program this month, ” In the classroom, our job is to work on the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. That is what they are tested on. Our job is to get them ready to be out in the regular classrooms.”
Over the previous two years, ESOL students from the Carroll County district have been named ESOL star students for the state of Georgia. Nineteen local students are in the running for that state award this year.