Hope Public Schools have met or exceeded the state's Annual Measureable Objectives (AMO) in two of three categories in regard to students who are learning to speak English as a second language, according to the Arkansas Department of Education.
“Our district is very proud of the efforts by all of our students and staff, and we welcome the challenge of raising these scores even higher in the coming years,” Bobby Hart, Hope Public Schools superintendent said. “Congratulations to our teachers and students and to the leader of our ESL team, Mrs. Cleytus Coulter, assistant principal at Beryl Henry Elementary in Hope.”
According to the report, the district's English Language Learners (ELL) scored 54.27 percent in math, and 53.14 percent in literacy. Both scores were higher than the goals for the 2011-2012 school year. The goals for that year were 50.91 percent for math and 38.01 percent for literacy.
“We have achieved these higher scores because of the ESL Academy,” Coulter said. “Our teachers are academy-trained. Each year, our teachers are trained and are using strategies learned from the academy. It's a state initiative. During the year, ESL holds workshops to discuss ways to improve assessments and the common knowledge of speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills. Students are tested each year, and these are the results of last year's testing.
“Teachers and paraprofessionals work hand in hand and the paraprofessionals sometimes work one-on-one with students,” Coulter said. “They encourage, motivate, and tutor students to excel.”
The Arkansas Department of Education Programs for Language Minority Students, in partnership with Henderson State University, and Arkansas Tech University, has planned intensive graduate instruction for educators interested in learning about teaching language minority students.
“The 13 day academy will focus on the areas of language acquisition, ESL methodology, assessment of Limited English Proficient, or LEP students, English Language Learner, or ELL students, and working with students from language minority cultures, and will focus on the application of ESL teaching skills to the Common Core State Standards, or CCSS,” Coulter said. “The Common Core helps students to be on the same page, no matter where they move.
“There are certain states in one consortium and we need to be able to be teaching the children on the same page if they move from Illinois to Arkansas, or from Arkansas to Illinois,” she said. “It takes a team effort to raise test scores and we will keep working to raise them even more. I am glad the children are learning under such good circumstances, with good teachers and paraprofessionals.”