Educational Service Delivery
This chapter reviews the educational service delivery system of Venus Independent School District (VISD) in the following sections:
- Student Performance
- Instructional Resources
- Gifted and Talented Education
- Compensatory Education
- Special Education
- Bilingual/English as a Second Language Education
- Career and Technology Education
- Library/Media Services
- Student Discipline and Alternative Education Programs
- Computer Technology
F. BILINGUAL/ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE EDUCATION
Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) education seeks to enable Limited-English proficient students (LEP) to become proficient in the comprehension, speaking, reading and composition of English through the development of literacy and academic skills in the primary language and in English. TEC, Chapter 29 requires all school districts with an enrollment of 20 LEP students in the same grade level to offer a bilingual/ESL or an alternative language program. The law specifies that districts provide bilingual education in pre-kindergarten through the elementary grades and that bilingual education, instruction in English as a Second Language (ESL) or other transitional language instruction approved by TEA is provided in post-elementary grades through grade nine. For students grades 9 through 12, only instruction in ESL is required. A LEP student is defined as one whose primary language is other than English and whose English language proficiency limits the student’s participation in an English-language academic environment.
School districts must identify LEP students and provide bilingual or ESL programs as an integral part of the students’ regular educational programs. They must hire bilingual and ESL-certified teaching personnel to ensure these students have full educational opportunities.
The district meets the criteria for establishing a bilingual education program to serve its LEP student population. To attract and hire bilingual and ESL certified teachers, VISD has joined Region 11 recruiting service; advertises with other area and regional school districts; posts job vacancies on local, state and national Web sites; and conducts recruiting visits to major universities. These recruiting visits have not produced adequate numbers of bilingual-certified applicants or candidates to fill the available bilingual teaching positions. Because of its rural setting and poor economic status, VISD has a difficult time hiring and retaining teacher applicants. Neighbor school districts offer higher salaries and the larger, affluent districts in the Dallas metroplex offer high stipends to bilingual and ESL teachers. For all these reasons, VISD has filed a bilingual exception with TEA because of its lack of qualified bilingual instructors.
VISD has received TEA’s approval to implement an accelerated ESL program for its LEP student population as a way for non-English speaking students to quickly acquire the skills necessary to become successful learners in an English-speaking environment. This program capitalizes on the students’ strengths in their native language and uses those existing skills to develop proficiency in English.
The district’s accelerated ESL program considers the LEP students’ native language, culture and knowledge to be the foundation for academic and social growth. The program also integrates language and literacy skills across the state-adopted curriculum and provides students with the opportunity to acquire a high level of literacy in English within a nurturing and supportive school environment.
In VISD, the coordinator of Curriculum and Special Programs coordinates the accelerated ESL program for grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. A document provided by the coordinator states that the ESL program provides an accelerated curriculum that supports and challenges each identified ESL student to reach his or her maximum potential in grades pre-kindergarten through grade 12. It also says that VISD remains committed to providing the resources and training to meet the needs of these students in the “ever changing 21st century technological society.” The district has two certified ESL elementary teachers in every grade level from Pre-Kindergarten through grade 5. The middle school offers an ESL class with an ESL-certified teacher. High school offers English I and English II with modifications for ESL students, when necessary.
The education of LEP students is an important task for Texas public schools. The State Board of Education’s Long-Range Plan for Public Education 2001-06 states “enrollment in the state’s bilingual education program is projected to increase by 22 percent over the next five years.”
Exhibit 2-23 compares bilingual/ESL enrollment and expenditure data for VISD and its peer districts. The district ranks second among its peer district in the ESL program student enrollment. VISD and Grandview rank second in their share of 0.5 percent of budgeted expenditures for ESL students.
Bilingual/ESL Student Enrollment and Expenditures
VISD, Peer Districts and State
District Students Enrolled in Bilingual/ESL Percent of Total Enrollment Total Budgeted Expenditures Percent of Budgeted Expenditures* Per Student Expenditure Dublin 171 13.0% $369,083 4.4% $2,158 Godley 25 1.8% $44,762 0.5% $1,790 Grandview 31 2.8% $14,127 0.2% $456 Rio Vista 11 1.2% $15,000 0.2% $1,364 Venus 177 9.5% $57,915 0.5% $327 State 572,319 13.5% $865,615,663 4.3% $1,512 Source: TEA, PEIMS, 2002-03.
*Total budgeted expenditures dividedly by Bilingual/ESL budgeted expenditures.
Each VISD school offers an ESL program to meet the needs of the ESL students in the district. The district has 177 students in the ESL program during 2002-03.
The primary school ESL program includes a Pre-Kindergarten component. Both primary and elementary schools serve ESL students in their regular classrooms for the entire school day rather than pulling them out of the classroom. Current research in educational best practices strongly recommends this approach. All teachers with ESL students either have ESL certification or are receiving such certification. The primary school houses Pre-Kindergarten through grade 1. There are two ESL-certified classroom teachers at each grade level to serve the needs of these students in the classroom. The elementary school, which houses grades 2 through 5, has two ESL-certified classroom teachers per grade level. The middle school and high school each have one ESL-certified teacher. The coordinator of Curriculum and Special Programs said “by the time the ESL students reach middle school, they are ready to successfully exit the ESL program, based on the result of assessments.”
All improvement plans in the district address the ESL program. An ESL-certified teacher coordinates the middle school ESL program. The DIP and CIPs provide ESL students with the same opportunities for success as all other student groups. These plans also include the identification and placement in ESL components as required by TEC, Section 29.062. The ESL program periodically assesses student progress through TAKS practice tests and provides a technology-based instructional program developed by Computer Curriculum Corporation that allows individualized instruction; reading placement tests; math unit tests; and the Oral Language Proficiency Test (OLPT) in English.
The middle school ESL program has one ESL-certified teacher. The program consists of language arts ESL classes. ESL students are assigned to this class for one period a day. The high school ESL program offers English I for freshman credit and English II for sophomore credit. Teachers modify the curriculum as necessary to meet the needs of the ESL students.
ESL teachers prepare annual reports on each ESL student, documenting test results and making recommendations concerning student ESL placements. VISD’s Language Proficiency Assessment Committees (LPAC) identify, classify and place LEP students in the ESL program. The district’s LPAC consists of a school administrator, an ESL teacher, a parent of a LEP student, a counselor, a classroom teacher, the LEP student and his parents. The LPAC reviews students’ testing data and teachers’ recommendations regarding placement in or exit from the ESL program.
A TEA accountability team visited VISD in spring 2002 to determine whether the district’s ESL program complies with state requirements as outlined in the Texas Education Code, Section 29.062. The DEC peer review team stated that VISD complies with the requirements.
VISD offers an accelerated ESL program serving the needs of ESL students.