Governor Carney Unveils New English Learner Strategic Plan - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Governor Carney Unveils New English Learner Strategic Plan

Posted: Dec 20, 2017 5:14 PM Updated:

GEORGETOWN, Del.- On Wednesday, Delaware Gov. John Carney announced a new five-year plan aimed at helping students who consider English their second language, also called "English Learners."

Among other things, the plan aims to increase graduation rates for English learners, make sure English learner programs are in line with college standards, and to provide more training for teachers. Along with the plan, the Governor’s Advisory Council for English Learners was created. 

“The changing demographics of Delaware require us to think differently about how we provide learning opportunities for our students, particularly to our English learners, to ensure they acquire the language skills they need to be ready for success in college, career, and life,” said Governor Carney. “Delaware’s English Learner Strategic Plan helps lay the groundwork for us to improve our delivery of services to these children. This council will help keep us accountable to the strategies and goals outlined in the plan.”

During Wednesday's announcement, the necessity of this program was touched upon multiple times.

"Since 1997, the number of English learners in the state of Delaware has increased 433 percent," said Mike Rodriguez, associate secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. "In 2017 and 2018, there were approximately 12,000 English learners in our schools. The Indian River School District has the highest percentage of English language learners at 15.5 percent, more than any other district in the state."

Indian River Superintendent Mark Steele says much of their growth in the past few years-- from approximately 7,000 to 11,000 students--can be contributed to the area's growing Hispanic population. He says the part of the plan that funds more teachers and English learners will be a benefit to both teachers and students.

"Think about a teacher: when you walk into a classroom, [for example] my specialty is to teach math," Steele told WBOC. "I can teach math, but now for our teachers we not only have to be able to teach math, we have to teach math in a way so somebody who does not speak our language can understand what we're doing."

The English Learner Strategic Plan will take place over the course of the next five years. 

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