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Newhall School District awarded grant for English language learners

More than $600,000 to be used to determine best practices for instruction

Posted: July 8, 2008 1:09 a.m.
Updated: September 8, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
The Newhall School District has snagged more than $600,000 to help the state narrow down the best practices teachers should use when instructing English language learners.

The district will receive a $643,200 grant as part of the English Language Learner Acquisition and Development Pilot project. The grantees were allotted $200 per English learner and have to match that amount during the three-year pilot project period.

The Newhall district will be gathering data to determine whether the GLAD (Guided Language Acquisition Design) program used by Newhall schools is the best way to teach English learners, according to Nancy Copley, assistant superintendent of instructional services for the district.

“We’re looking at the GLAD program as a best practice, and we’re looking for data to back that up,” Copley said. “The district will be looking at the growth of our English language learners over the next three years, and we will provide the state with that data.”

The data will be collected at McGrath, Newhall, Peachland and Wiley Canyon elementary schools, Copley said.

“Those are the schools that are eligible through the grant to expand this program,” she said.

Of the total 1,761 schools eligible to apply, 44 were selected based on a number of criteria including the percentage of English learners in the population. The Newhall School District student population averages around 20 percent English learners, but the four schools that were selected have higher individual percentages, Copley said.

The GLAD program integrates listening, speaking, reading and writing into the curriculum with a special emphasis on science and social studies.

“Science and social studies have a lot of vocabulary words that are difficult for English-only students, so for our English language learners, it’s doubly difficult,” Copley said.

As a condition of receiving funding, the Newhall district must agree to being evaluated by an independent evaluator, collect data and report the results back to the California Department of Education for submission in a final report to the governor and the legislature.

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